Squamish votes Saturday on $20 million plan 

Mayor’s going for the money first, planning later

Squamish residents will decide the future of $20 million worth of community amenities in a referendum this Saturday, Feb. 26.

The District of Squamish is seeking permission from residents to borrow $20 million to fund a massive community amenities project. Items that could be built range from a second ice rink, an arts centre, a senior’s centre, youth gymnasium and more.

The issue has divided the community because the council has not told taxpayers exactly what they’re going to do with the money.

Mayor Ian Sutherland has argued that telling the community how the $20 million will be spent would severely restrict the council because some of the projects are only in the preliminary planning stages. Other opportunities may not have been identified yet.

But several residents, and councillor Corinne Lonsdale in particular, do not agree with the mayor’s assertions and want the council to produce individual project costs so residents can see what their money will be spent on.

If the community votes against this initiative then it will be a huge blow for Sutherland, who has been a strong advocate for expansion and innovation in Squamish.

To help residents decide how they will vote the council has organized an open house on Thursday (Feb. 24) at the municipal hall between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Advance voting was held Feb. 19 and 23.

Official polling starts 8 a.m. and finishes 8 p.m. at Brennan Park on Saturday, Feb. 26th.

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