Squamish has undoubtedly transformed over the past few years. More and more people have learned what a desirable place Squamish is to live. Our town is no longer just a scenic stop-over for travellers between Vancouver and Whistler. It’s a place for neighbours – new and old – in our growing community to live, work, and play. 

These changes do not come without their challenges. The population growth, increasing cost of living and stress to our public infrastructure have confronted and divided our community. But adapting to new circumstances is not an unfamiliar practice in Squamish. It’s who we are. 

When the pulp factories packed up and left town, we reinvented ourselves as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. And now tourists from around the world flock to Squamish to windsurf, mountain bike, hike, and indulge in our extensive hospitality industries. 

Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how vulnerable our tourist economy is. The question is, are our leaders at District Council fighting for the stronger outlook that Squamish families need to thrive? 

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We decided to conduct a poll to confirm our concerns, which we’ve already heard anecdotally from the community. In our poll, 169 locals shared their concerns about the future of Squamish, and whether District Council is bringing us there.  

The results of our survey* tell us what we already knew: Squamish District Council needs to do a better job matching economic growth with the population growth in our community.  

Our survey found that 57% of locals agreed that Squamish council is doing a poor job expanding our business tax base, while 55% of locals indicate that the District of Squamish council is doing a poor job performance at managing growth in Squamish 

If Council isn’t going to advocate for a bigger and better Squamish, then as community members, we will.  

That’s why we decided to form Squamish Forward – a coalition of like-minded people who believe that our town is full of promise and opportunity for the future. We will advocate for increased economic diversification, more local employment, and an increased business tax base for Squamish.  

We’ve already started to cultivate a network of local businesses, organizations, industries, and leaders to be stewards of this call to action. You’ll see their ideas about Squamish on this website, in our email newsletter, and on our social media pages. 

We want to host an interactive forum with our neighbours on the future of our community. If you agree and would like to participate, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and consider spreading the word with anyone who you think would like to weigh in on these important issues! 

How do you think we can move Squamish forward to a brighter future? Send your ideas in a short essay to [email protected], and it could get featured on our page! 

* Margin of error of +/- 7.5% (or 95% confidence) 

The Author

  • Evan Drygas

    Evan Drygas is the creator of the Squamish Forward initiative. The success of Squamish is especially important to him as a fifth-generation Squamish resident. Evan wants to ensure that his family can continue to grow in step with the growth of our community.

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