richard laurencelle 

Council candidate: Richard Laurencelle Richard Laurencelle is president of Vancouver-based firm Monarch Financial and currently sits on the board of Haven Family services, a charitable organization. The Winnipeg-born and raised financial advisor moved to Vancouver in 1983. He has owned property in Whistler for the last 10 years and is an avid skier. "I actually like to go up there in summer a lot too," says Laurencelle. "I really enjoy Whistler as a place for recreation and I spend a lot of time there." Pique: Why are you running for council? Laurencelle: I guess I want to be on council because I feel, based on my life experience and my business experience, I can bring to the table an attitude and an approach that I think is important. What I mean by that is there are the issues of the day but, issues will come and go, and it’s the attitude and the resolve that you have to have to solve these issues... sort of in a co-operative manner but by still taking a fairly aggressive lead in making sure they get resolved, along with your colleagues. Pique: How would council have been different with you on board? Laurencelle: I don’t know that there is anything really wrong with this council. I hate to pick on the current council. They have a tough job just like we would have if we were on council but I guess I just feel that some of the really important issues of the day haven’t been, I think, dealt with in the way I would think that a councillor should. What I am referring to is, I think the most important thing is listening to the community. We are elected by the community. We are the people’s representation and I think it’s a mistake to forget how you got there once you are on council. If the people of the community got together and voted on issues and a council didn’t exist, the majority would decide what would happen. I think you have to listen to them and find a way to solve their problems. I guess you need an objective approach. You lay out all of the issues so that you can see them very clearly. Then there will likely have to be some form of compromise. The question is, what is the best solution given all of the issues and all of the parties concerned? Of course, you can’t please everybody all the time. But, I think if you communicate back to the people, and appeal to their better judgement and sense of community, I think you can sell that. But they have to be communicated to along the way so that they don’t feel that something is being crammed down their throat or that one group is being favoured over another. Pique: What are the important issues the next council has to deal with? Laurencelle: It’s for sure the sewer issue with Emerald. I am committed to solving that problem one way or another. I think the people in Emerald need more consideration on that. The other one is the nightly rental issue. The other one would be to somehow come up with some sensible employee housing. I don’t have any answers because I wasn’t on council so I wasn’t privy to the discussions that have gone on so far but, it seems to me, the best solution I have heard of so far for tourist accommodation, and there could be others that are improved on over this one, but I think that the idea of licensing makes a lot of sense for a couple of reasons. One, you don’t have the permanency that changing the zoning would bring. I could see where the local residents could really have strong objection to that. I sense that in some subdivisions the majority are interested in tourist accommodation and some not. I would be very surprised, for example, if Millar’s Pond residents were interested. But for instance, in White Gold where my property is, I sense there would be more people interested there. I think you have to go subdivision by subdivision. For employee housing, I know there was some talk about some tax incentives so maybe provide residents who provide some housing a little bit of a break on property taxes. They could then afford to pass on the tax saving to the employee. I think the important thing is to try and encourage people who have vacant suites that they don’t use personally to make them available to employees and the sweetener could be the tax incentive. There are probably other solutions. I am really all for open discussion with council and brainstorming because if you brainstorm you usually come up with better ideas than any one individual could on their own. Pique: Why should people vote for you? Laurencelle: I think for a few reasons. One, my commitment. Even though I am not a resident up there I would like to think it is important to have someone up there who is a little bit objective and can see things a little bit differently and not be as emotionally connected as the people who live there. I think that offers balance right there. But I have the same amount of commitment as people who live up there. I own property and the same decisions affect me. And I have to say, I guess the biggest strength I bring to the table is I have some group leadership qualities and I really take a sort of a balanced and moderate approach to things. I will never make a decision on an issue until I feel enough information has been put forward so we can understand the issue clearly and then you have to make the hard decisions which maybe involve some compromise. I feel that is a skill and a talent I have that not everybody possesses.

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