Two Squamish council campaigns topped $10,000 

documents show Kirkham had industry backing

click to enlarge FUNDING PARTNERS Election expense reports have been released and the company owned by former mayor Greg Gardner was one of the contributors to Rob Kirkham's bid for the mayor's office. File photo
  • FUNDING PARTNERS Election expense reports have been released and the company owned by former mayor Greg Gardner was one of the contributors to Rob Kirkham's bid for the mayor's office. File photo

Winning an election in Squamish takes work and apparently some cash as well.

Two candidates in the municipal elections held in November spent more than $10,000 to convince voters to mark an "X" beside their name on the ballot sheet.

Mayor Rob Kirkham's election expense report indicated his campaign consumed $10,000.76.

Kirkham's list of campaign contributors was the longest compared to others on the campaign trail in Squamish. The retired bank manager's biggest supporters were Greg Gardner Motors, the Barr family and their companies, Blackmount Logging, Ken Pickering, Cardinal Concrete, Squamish Scrap Metals, and Owen G. Carney Ltd. Each gave at least $500 toward Kirkham's bid to win the election.

Kirkham's main rival, Auli Parviainen, invested $5,402.75 into her campaign reporting only a few financial backers. Vancouver real estate agent Rishi Dhir of Dhir Marketing Inc. and Royal Pacific Realty contributed to Parviainen's campaign along with developer Douglas Day. The Garibaldi Springs Golf Course lands are owned by Day and he developed the lots and homes at University Heights beside Quest University.

Kirkham received 2,283 votes in the November election while Parviainen picked up 2,104 votes. A third candidate, Ron Bahm, collected 147 votes but he announced a few days before the vote that he was pulling out of the race and encouraged his supporters to vote for Parviainen. The vehicle repair shop owner didn't declare any election expenses. Bahm's election expense report indicated his only promotional tool was a video created for him at a value of $300.

The race for councillor seats in Squamish featured big spenders, very frugal candidates and everything in between. Ted Prior ran a successful $10,699 campaign. The next biggest spender was Ron Sander at $7,599.

The other successful candidates spent varying amounts on their campaigns. Susan Chapelle, who didn't use any signs to promote her bid for council, ran her campaign on a budget of $976. Incumbent Bryan Raiser spent only $316.74 on his campaign and only a small portion of his campaign was self-funded. Incumbent Patricia Heintzman's expenses totaled $2,825 and returning councillor Doug Race used $3,393.46 to win back his seat.

Jeff Cooke missed being elected by about 300 votes and his expense report indicated his campaign costs totaled $1,843.08.The unsuccessful candidates who ran campaigns on more than $2,000 were Balwinder Biring ($3,194.93), Geoff Dyer ($2,343.28), Mike Jenson ($2,309.78) and Chris Wallace ($2,200).

Most of the campaigns for councillor seats were largely self-financed.

The expense reports filed by Debra McBride and Terrill Patterson indicated neither of them spent any money on their campaigns. McBride received 314 votes, finishing second from the bottom while Patterson collected 900 votes resulting in an 11th place finish about 700 votes short of the votes received by Susan Chapelle, the sixth place candidate.

The election expense reports are public documents and they are available for anyone to see, but an appointment must be booked at the municipal hall to view the folder.

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