Some people have told Auli Parviainen she hasn't been in the community long enough to run for mayor but she sees advantages in being a new Squamish resident.
Parviainen has lived in Squamish for two years.
She announced her intention to run on Friday (Oct. 7) and said in an interview after announcing her intention to run for the position of Squamish mayor that she feels the bar in Squamish needs to be raised. Along with being told she hasn't lived in the community long enough she also said a few people have told her it doesn't work to run for mayor with no previous political experience. She disagrees and feels the expectation for candidates is too low.
Soon after Parviainen made her announcement an anonymous Internet post, which has since been removed, suggested Parviainen wouldn't be a good choice because her former event company closed and left unpaid bills behind in Whistler.
Parviainen suggested her past experience in business, including the dissolution of Inspired Event Group in Whistler, has given her valuable experience that makes her more valuable in the mayor's chair.
"I have made some mistakes," Parviainen said this week. "If you talk to any successful person, the first thing they will tell you is that they didn't succeed.
"I am a good leader because I will stand here accountable."
Since moving to Squamish Parviainen has been working as a business consultant and one of her current clients is the group working to create the Paradise Trails development on 71 hectares (126 acres) of land in the Paradise Valley. The project proponents want to create acreage lots and an equestrian centre with indoor and outdoor riding facilities along with more than eight kilometres of riding and hiking trails. The project team believes its application for rezoning has been stalled since 2008.
Parviainen and the development team accuse municipal leaders of foot-dragging and moving the goalposts on the Paradise Trails project.
According to Parviainen, she is wrapping up her work with Paradise Trails because she said she doesn't want to appear to be in a conflict of interest by maintaining a relationship with the project.
"There's an appearance of conflict and lack of openness," Parviainen said of the current situation at the municipal hall in Squamish. To deal with that she proposes the creation of an Ombudsman office where people who feel they aren't being treated fairly can take their concerns.
"My campaign is going to reflect how we are going to do things," said Parviainen. "I say 'we' because I strongly believe it is going to be 'we' and not one person setting the agenda."
Parviainen plans to spend a significant amount of her campaign time knocking on doors to introduce herself to the community and she also plans to make full use of on-line social media networks.
"It'll be the cheapest mayor campaign ever," she said when asked if she plans to use any signs to promote her campaign.
To date, 14 people have announced their intention to run for one of the six councillor seats available at the Squamish Council table. The 2008 election featured 18 councillor candidates. The deadline to file nomination papers at the municipal hall in Squamish is Friday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m.
In 2008, Squamish had 11,040 eligible municipal voters and 4,629 of them marked a ballot.
The first advance poll in Squamish will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7.
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