I SAY…Attract Youth to Region

tristanBy Tristan Galbraith
Published: March 13, 2016
THERE is no doubt abundant work and jobs in this region, especially Squamish, have helped create taxes and shaped the beautiful communities we are all lucky to call home. So, when work is in such paucity, why should we object to the developments such as Garibaldi at Squamish and many others that are in the pipeline for Squamish and this region?
If indeed there is a genuine complaint about finding decent work locally, reducing global warming and transportation costs, then that for me is exactly the reason we need to go ahead and throw out support behind these projects, granted they pass through all the hoops our democratically elected governments have set for them.
If we are going to engage youth and young adults, we must attract them with greater strengths, development and jobs.
We must also need to be aware of another reality. Compared to others in BC, Squamish is a young town and that is a strength we need to remember. A retired person, after all, does not contribute the same taxes as a young person in his 30s and 40s.  It’s great that many seniors have decided to make Squamish and Whistler their home, but we need a constant influx of young talent into our region so growth can be anchored by young families and growing 30-40 something professionals.
Growth and development in Downtown Squamish and Garibaldi at Squamish will, I think, attract the young families we are looking for, majority of who are in ski/bike resorts, oceans, kayaking, kitesurfing, the arts, etc. But that won’t happen with private enterprise alone. We need greater leadership, private development, and strong, engaging and unique business mentorship for youth. And it’s important we trim down municipal waste and develop a culture where the local governments can play an enabling role, rather than merely going on a spending drive.
It is astounding that Whistler, a small iconic ski community, has risen to contribute such a large portion of provincial GDP. Whistler contributed $1.3 billion to the provincial GDP but it isn’t because of the government action. In fact, municipal spending and salaries have increased over time, which is good for public sector employees but not as encouraging to private enterprise. A truly successful economy depends on the ability of private business to flourish with government playing an enabling role in the growth of the business through business-friendly policy. Our local elected leaders need to ask how we can engage and help our young families and create policies that will trim waste, lower taxes, and enable families to think boldly and come up with innovative, successful businesses.
 It is fantastic we can have such a large ecotourism sector which has skiing, biking, snowboarding and many other sports. If we have to keep attracting young people to this region, we need to keep working on that. It takes trimming loquacity and developing mega projects to keep the strong and hardworking families and young professionals in the corridor and I’m all for it. 
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