VOTE MIKE YOUNG SQUAMISH COUNCIL - OCTOBER 20, 2018
My wife and I moved to Squamish from the Lower Mainland in 2001. Family first attracted us to the area. But the majestic setting of mountain peaks surrounded by lakes, ocean and rivers creating a playground for adventure is what solidified our decision to lay down roots and make this incredible community our home.
Like many, we found ourselves commuting for work five days a week. My wife travelled to Whistler for her career and I made the daily rush hour trek to Richmond. We burned through tires and oil changes at a rapid rate and lived through the many delays of road construction leading up to 2010, but the pay-off of coming home every night to this community we love made the challenge worth the hardship.
Since those early years, I have witnessed tremendous change both personally and professionally as well as change within Squamish itself. I have been incredibly fortunate to create a successful local business in town and my family has expanded to include two kids both born at Squamish Hospital.
We arrived in Squamish at a time when the real estate market was flat and housing was somewhat affordable and the area still retained a feeling of what many refer to now as the ‘old time’ Squamish. Our arrival preceded the appearance of big box stores and extensive strip malls. We have celebrated many of the changes and transitions that have delivered us to this moment in time. Yet, at the same time I have concerns over the issues that we are facing today, which in many ways can be attributed to the incredible growth Squamish has experienced.
Growth and development were inevitable and important. I recall thinking seventeen years ago that it was only a matter of time before the world recognized as we did that Squamish is the optimal place to both live and play. The upgrades to the highway coupled with exposure and publicity leading up to the Olympics in 2010 created a surge of activity and the race to live in Squamish truly began in earnest.
Growth in population and development has been rapid and that influx has understandably presented both challenges and opportunities. A word I hear echoed throughout the community often is pace. I believe it is time to pause and evaluate where we were and where we are now. Take stock and clearly define what we need to do moving forward to appropriately manage the resulting effect of this rapid growth in our population.
I think regularly about economic development, infrastructure, transportation and the current state of housing. I also believe in balancing development and growth with maintaining green space to ensure we preserve the beauty and magic of this incredible place we call home. It’s time to prioritize and strategically create a viable road map moving forward that is proactive in every sense of the word.
The elected officials and District and Community need to work together in collaboration to manifest and create viable solutions to the current challenges that we are faced with. Growth and expansion have highlighted many issues but the silver lining remains that these challenges provide endless opportunities to implement change in a positive way. This can only be accomplished through due process, transparency, respect and in consideration of competing interests and undeniable needs that warrant our attention now.
I believe if we prioritize and plan through the process of engagement and partnerships that we will continue to build on the community’s vision for the future of Squamish. And, with strong leadership we can leverage momentum moving forward to ensure Squamish continues to shine and thrive in every sense of the word.
Please vote on October 20, 2018 and help shape the next four years and beyond for our community.