By Kerry Eno
Published: Oct 18, 2014
Mayoral candidate Patricia Heintzman launched her campaign for the town’s top seat at a community meet and greet at the Brackendale Art Gallery on October 16. More than 80 people attended the campaign launch.
They were greeted at the door by Heintzman and the Brackendale Art Gallery owner Thor Froslev, who insistently slapped a “Vote for Patty” sticker on anything that moved.
Heintzman had invited all community members including all candidates running for election. More than two-thirds of the council candidates were present, but Heintzman was the only mayoral candidate in attendance at the informal, fireside community conversation.
Heintzman is one of three mayoral candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. A fourth candidate, Auli Parviainen, withdrew from the race to support Heintzman and their shared values of good governance, measurable and accountable results, and meaningful public say.
Heintzman said her choice to run for mayor was a “complex and challenging decision”, despite her nine years of experience as a municipal councillor for the district of Squamish. She was persuaded by a friend who felt that she owed it to the community.
She spoke to the capacity for increased collaboration between mayor and council to eliminate problems caused by a traditional hierarchical approach to municipal government: “You’re electing a team who are going to chart the vision for this community.”
Of each council candidate’s decision to run, Heintzman noted: “It takes courage; it takes a little bit of crazy.”
She offered first crack at the microphone to what she identified as a strong, diverse group of councillor candidate as incumbent councillors Brian Raiser, Ted Prior, and Susan Chappelle declared their support for Heintzman’s campaign.
Chappelle introduced herself and joked: “Patti married me!” She stated her intent to maintain focus on a Complete Streets approach to best practices and implementation for transportation initiatives.
Heintzman stepped in to clarify: “We’re not married.”
Ted Prior commented that residents are increasingly well-educated and that Squamish’s identity as university town is growing. He asked residents to slow down and use this collective intelligence to consider existing opportunities before jumping into the unknown.
New council candidate Jason Blackman-Wulff noted local residents are a “…well-organized group of citizens who care about this community.”
First-time runner Karen Elliott expressed the importance of having a mayor that wants to engage and a community that is not polarized around debates.
The calibre of Squamish residents and a call to increase engagement in community conversation and contribution were popular themes among the candidates’ 30-second elevator pitches.
The municipal election will be held on November 15, 2014.