Live in Squamish to vote there, council suggests 

Recommendation going to Local Government Elections Task Force

Those who own property or a business in Squamish but don't live there may not be able to vote in local elections.

That's one of the recommendations the District of Squamish is sending to the Local Government Elections Task Force set up by the provincial government. The task force is soliciting advice from local governments on how to improve the electoral process at the municipal level across the province.

The motion was brought forward by Councillor Doug Race in an earlier Committee of the Whole meeting. At the regular council meeting on Tuesday, April 6, it was supported by everyone except Councillor Paul Lalli.

Race said voting rights for local elections should be restricted to the citizens of Squamish. He said those who own a house or a business but don't live in town should be barred from voting, even if they pay taxes.

"I feel it should be the residents of the community that vote for the leaders of the community. Just because you have a business here, doesn't mean you should be allowed to vote. That's the part I think is wrong. If you have a business in Alberta, you shouldn't be voting in Alberta elections. You don't vote provincially, except if you are a resident. You don't vote federally, except if you are a resident," Race said.

Lalli opposed the motion, saying those who own property should be allowed to vote in local elections.

"I believe that if an individual owns property, he should have some democratic representation." he said.


Council agrees to RGS dispute resolution

The District of Squamish agreed to participate in the Regional Growth Strategy Dispute Resolution Process. It also agreed to the appointment of Glenn Sigurdson as the arbitrator of the Regional Growth Strategy Dispute Resolution Process.


Complaint about smoking bylaw

The District of Squamish asked staff to review a complaint by the owner of a local pub about a smoking bylaw.

Thelma Yamaguchi, the owner of the Cliffside Pub, said the current smoking bylaw was too stringent and did not let patrons use the pub's uncovered deck.

"Most of my staff and customers smoke and since the current bylaw came into effect, the decks get zero use," Yamaguchi said in a letter.

The District of Squamish bylaw prevents smoking within three metres of the perimeter of patios or decks used in conjunction with a restaurant, regardless of whether the deck is open or is partly or fully enclosed.


RV proponents want extension

The District of Squamish heard from developers of RV parks who were hoping councillors would vote against a bylaw amendment that would cap the maximum number of days a recreational vehicle could be parked in Squamish.

According to this bylaw, no recreational vehicle shall be located in a recreational vehicle park for over a period of 30 consecutive days in any six-month period.

The developers of RV park sites in Squamish are hoping the 30-day period would be extended to a maximum of 45 days.

"It's just more practical. We just want it to be a little more flexible. We surveyed 31 parks in the Lower Mainland and only two had 30-day limits. Everyone else had six months or no limits,"  said Ron Bijok, developer of an RV Park site at Highway 99 and Scott Crescent in Squamish.

The bylaw will come back to council for a vote at a future meeting.

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