By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 17, 2015
Published: June 17, 2015
BILL Stoner has been in Squamish for only a few months but his new job has placed him in the thick of Squamish action during a major event. Stoner joined Squamish as a deputy fire chief in January and was part of the team that fought the flames at Squamish Terminals on April 17. It was the second major fire he had fought in his career and it made for a quick introduction to the firefighters and the community.
“I got to know them quickly, and I feel I’m lucky to be working with our local firefighters,” he said.
But fighting fires won’t be his only contribution to Squamish. Stoner was also actively involved in the Junior Fire Academy, the Guns and Hoses charity hockey event, and the Brennan Park Easter Egg Hunt. He has also joined Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association to support mountain biking, even though his schedule won’t allow him to attend toonie races every Wednesday. He also plans to take up kiteboarding next year.
The Sea to Sky Region isn’t new to Stoner, who moved to Whistler from Ontario for skiing. He moved to Sun Peaks Resort, 50 kilometres from Kamloops, worked in the hospitality industry, became a volunteer firefighter and later joined the resort as a full-time firefighter. He was the fire chief at Sun Peaks Fire and Rescue before he joined Squamish as a deputy fire chief in January.
Stoner believes being a firefighter in Squamish would be a good opportunity for him to learn and grow, but that is only one of the reasons for him to move to Squamish.
What was attractive about Squamish for him was the easy access to the outdoor recreation.
“Squamish is a great place to live and has outstanding trail running, mountain biking and windsurfing opportunities,” he says.
While living in a smaller community like Sun Peaks had its own attractions, he had to go to neighbouring Kamloops once a week for groceries, gas and other household supplies.
“It’s nice to live in a town now that has all of this,” he says, smiling.
What’s also impressed him about Squamish is the kind of connection people feel with their town. Stoner says he has never seen a community so in love with their town. “Everyone I have met says they are lucky to live here. It seems like people who live here feel really attached to Squamish,” he says.
Stoner’s wife is still in Sun Peaks but will soon join him in Squamish. Stoner says she is excited to move to Squamish and be part of the new community. The couple has two daughters, Joanne and Brook Foster, and the former is studying at UBC, which will make it easier for them to visit her on weekend. They have listed their home for sale in Sun Peaks and are looking to buy a home in Squamish.
“This isn’t just a career move. This is a community move, and we plan to stay longer in Squamish,” he says.