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Whistler and Squamish’s influence growing at SLRD board

Squamish gains an extra seat; increased voting power for Whistler
Thanks to their growing populations, both Squamish, pictured, and Whistler will have added voting power on the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, starting this month.

On Nov. 23, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) board will reconvene with a few new faces and more power in the hands of the District of Squamish and Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Thanks to the rapid growth of Squamish in the last census, the municipality has been granted another seat on the SLRD board, bringing its total to three representatives.

Squamish’s new mayor, Armand Hurford, welcomed the news.

“We’re pleased to have an additional director seat and increased votes as a result of Squamish’s population growth,” Hurford said in an emailed statement.

“As a gateway for the corridor and the most populated community within the Regional District, it is natural for Squamish to provide important resources for the surrounding communities, from recreation, to shopping and services, to health-care.”

But providing those resources to other communities comes with responsibilities, too, “and so it is important to have a strong voice on projects and initiatives that may impact us,” Hurford added.

“My council colleagues and I look forward to continuing the important and productive work with the SLRD board on shared interests and pressures stemming from growth across all our communities.”

With the expansion of the board, the District of Squamish also gains three additional votes, bringing the district’s total to 13.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler, meanwhile, is also gaining another vote at the board table, bringing its total to seven to reflect the resort’s surging population.

“These changes are more evidence of our quickly growing region. I am excited to get back to work with the great group at the SLRD,” Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton said in an email.

Over the last five years, nearly every part of the SLRD experienced a surge in population. Squamish is one of the fastest-growing communities in the province, rising from 19,497 to 23,819 people, a 22-per-cent increase between 2016 and 2021.

Whistler grew by 19 per cent, from 11,746 to about 14,000 people. While Whistler’s population growth is substantial under the current formula, the RMOW does not meet the threshold for an additional seat on the board.

The new SLRD board will be filled with familiar faces, as all incumbent directors were acclaimed in the October election.

From the member municipalities, Crompton, Whistler Councillor Jen Ford, Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman, and Squamish councillor Jenna Stoner will all return to the board along with incumbent area representatives, Tony Rainbow, Russell Mack, Vivian Birch-Jones and Sal DeMare.

The new faces on the board are Armand Hurford, Squamish Councillor Chris Pettingill, and Lillooet’s new mayor, Laurie Hopfl.

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Breakdown of the new board and its electoral voting strength

Squamish (pop: 24,327)

3 representatives, 13 votes

Whistler (13,982)

2 representatives, 7 votes

Electoral Area C (3,492)

1 representative, 2 votes

Village of Pemberton (3,407)

1 representative, 2 votes

Lillooet (2,302)

1 representative, 2votes.

Electoral Area B (1,624)

1 representative, 1 vote

Electoral Area D (1,057)

1 representative, 1 vote

Electoral Area A (305)

1 representative, 1 vote

Total: (50,496)

11 representatives, 29 votes.