By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept 17, 2014
Stephen Fryer, the vice-president of Squamish Minor Hockey, announced his bid for Squamish council today.
Raised in Squamish, the 35-year-old Fryer is an insurance claims adjuster and has been involved with the insurance industry as a broker and an adjuster. Married with three children, Fryer lives in Brackendale in the home he grew up in as a child.
With deep roots in Squamish, Fryer says community pride and volunteerism have always been important to him. He is the vice-president, referee in chief for Squamish Minor Hockey and head coach for Rally Cap -Howe Sound Minor Baseball. He has previously held the position of strata president and also organized a fundraiser to benefit various cancer groups in the province.
Why are you running for Council?
In my various community roles I have had the pleasure of engaging many different user groups and residents on various topics and reviewed many processes throughout this past term. It seems evident there is a fundamental disconnect with the current council, user groups and the community as whole.
I feel that not only are voices and opinions not being heard but that the council is far too quick to react to staff recommendations without complete review and objective opinion on items that come before them.
What would you like to see during your term?
Simply, I would like to see a return to political engagement within the community by our elected representatives. Squamish is not such a size that we need to be taking Policies and Procedures from other larger municipalities in order to make decisions and provide effective government. I would like to see increased employment opportunities, upgraded local infrastructure and more opportunity afforded to families and youth.
What are your priorities?
Improve current aging infrastructure, adopt uniform and concise commercial/residential development procedures for all developers and increase family resources, child development and employment within our community.
Your views on LNG ?
This is a very complicated matter. With facts and recommendations still left to be presented for the residents of Squamish to objectively review and debate. This being said, I support the concept of Woodfibre LNG. I am a direct beneficiary of industry in this town as my father worked for WFP Woodfibre.
I grew up here and saw that both tourism and Industry can flourish side by side. In my opinion, Woodfibre LNG proponents have been open to public consultation and have been accommodating in providing a prompt response to direct questions and queries that I have personally had. The economic impacts and spin offs that would result will provide a necessary revenue source for the district.
What is your take on SODC?
The decision making behind the sale of the lands and the secrecy that has surrounded the bid and sale are troublesome at the very least. One could argue that the decision for council to even become involved with these lands at the outset was flawed. However, review of the sale to be completed appears win/win for both sides. Hopefully there are provisions within the sales agreement that prevent further mismanagement of funds and hold harmless the district from future debts and that the land development proceeds.
What do we need to improve ?
There has to be an improvement with development and business. Policies and processes need to be uniform, concise and up front. There needs to be an emphasis on growth and opportunity for the families and youth. Residents of Squamish need to be included in the local political processes that affect our direction and policies. Council needs to be more publicly aware and available.