You may have missed the ads in The Chief over the holidays, but Squamish citizens have a real chance to say “no” to a property tax increase.

If these projects are successfully challenged, homeowners can save about $10.50 per $100,000 in assessed value per year.

This is through the “Alternate Approval Process” (Formerly known as “Counterpetition”) 

If the District of Squamish spending priorities don’t follow yours, ask for a referendum so that all citizens can have their say.  

If 1469 qualified Squamish voters petition to hold a referendum on proposed spending by city council, then according to provincial legislation, the district must let Squamish residents have their say on the additional spending through a referendum. 

Ask For Your Say On Leasing City Hall Offices

At the same time, we can petition for public consultation on committing to a 20-year, $1 million lease for city hall offices. Maybe this is the best way forward, but citizens and taxpayers in Squamish should have a public discussion before locking in the following five councils to this high level of taxpayer spending.   

What is the “Alternate Approval Process” (Formerly known as Counterpetition)? 

The “Alternate Approval Process” is explained on the District of Squamish Website here.

In summary, the Community Charter in BC requires that projects and borrowing over a certain amount must offer an opportunity for citizens and taxpayers to request a referendum on proposed spending projects. 

Projects that we are petitioning & why: 

Everyone will have their own priorities for city spending and their own reasons for supporting or opposing various priorities. Here are some thoughts on some of the bylaws potentially up for a referendum.  

Public Works Facility $16 Million ($8.40/$100K) 

Why are Brennan Park upgrades or important street & infrastructure upgrades always last on the list? 

Sure, our public works department works hard, and it would be great for everyone to have a brand-new expensive workspace, but should it be the $16 million priority? 

Council is promising upgrades to Brennan Park next year after their term ends. This is about the 3rd of 4th council that has held a consultation in the 3rd year of their term and kicked much needed Brennan Park Upgrades down the road for the next council. Squamish Taxpayers won’t get what is important to them until they stand up and say so.  

This project cost has skyrocketed about 25% from the 2019 Real Estate and Facilities Master Plan, which costed the Public Works Facility at $12.6 million. Why so much more?  

$16 Million would be a great start on long-overdue Brennan Park upgrades.  Learn more here.

Pioneer Way Extension ($10,8089,081)

This is an extension to the road in the Industrial Park. Quite simply, we would argue that the Developers/Landowners in the area who will benefit from this should pay for it all. 

Technology Transformation Project ($1,081,818)

This will be, according to our quick analysis of the numbers, the 3rd year of expenditures of about $1 million per year. Clearly, costs are out of control, and no end is in sight. Maybe it is time to re-think these huge expenditures and set Squamish up on a program that will have reasonable costs. Learn more here.

This is your money. This is your town. Ask to have your say. 

The Author

  • Gord Addison

    Gord Addison moved to Squamish to climb in 1996. Deeply interested in the intersection between public policy and community-building, Gord recognizes the practical tools Squamish can use to address its growing pains. Since 2005, he has worked in digital marking and on various communications projects and campaigns. In his spare time, you can find him cycling, running, and occasionally still climbing in Squamish. Authors opinions are their own. Not all authors or people associated with Squamish Forward endorse all of the opinions expressed here. But we all love the free flow of ideas and discussion that can lead to a better Squamish.

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