I said that! at the Squamish Arts Council All Candidates meet

Squamish Arts Council Questions

1.   What is your personal involvement in Arts, Culture and/or Heritage in the Community?

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MY PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT

I enjoy attending all the events, concerts and theatricals.  I have been employed at both the Brackendale Art Gallery and the Newport Gallery, which enabled me to enjoy the many displays and events.  As a dancer taking lessons till age 21 in Victoria and attending U Vic I was always involved in theatre and my friends were famous artist elders.  Squamish has an amazing variety of artists who have banded together and established organizations, which successfully promote arts and culture.

 

Most recently I have been cast as an extra on The Guard, which starts airing its second season next Thurs.  I will be quite visible as I often am filmed alone.  The Guard has placed me in several scenes in one episode.  The filming industry is a very profitable art and Squamish can benefit as the views become world famous and millions of people are attracted to visit.

 

My own photos and films of the events in Squamish this summer are a result of my computer training at the Academy of Learning.  They are available on my websites and are popular worldwide. 

 

2.  We already know that Squamish is an incredibly diverse community, but what some people may not be aware of is that in addition to our world class outdoor recreation and beautiful ecologically rich community, we are also fortunate to have the 2nd highest artistic population in a community of 50,000 or less in all of Canada.  And when you consider that Arts & Cultural tourism has been identified as one of the fastest growing industries, it’s clear that we are very well positioned to develop this sector. 

 

Question   How do Arts, Culture and Heritage fit into your vision for the community? 

There are many old plans with old lines on old maps that need to be removed from the development plans for Squamish.  These plans have no regard for the Ponderosa Pine or the dirt trails enjoyed by dog walkers seeking inspiration.  As long as there is devastation to deal with at Squamish Municipal Hall, the artists will reflect this in their work and be distracted by it.

 

We are fortunate to have Krisztina Egyed to speak at the Public Hearings and to speak on National Radio for the simple pleasures that are endangered by these old lines on old maps in Squamish.

 

Squamish has a strong multi-cultural artistic populace. Artists’ works were enjoyed by the highly creative First Nations and then with those who came here from all over the world to work.  These workers brought families who were educated or became educated thru the amazingly friendly and effective schools here, especially the colleges.  Each nationality has contributed together at the many events in Squamish! 

 

Our entrance to Squamish shows the Squamish Nation has established their culture centre as the first event for visitors to Squamish.  Likewise, the Adventure Centre is becoming a showcase on a regular basis for theatre, discussions and displays as well as information.

 

The Community Services Directory allows newcomers to join in immediately to their favorite group for their favorite pastimes.  These become profitable as the artists evolve in this nurturing atmosphere.

 

People oriented grants especially to the Arts Community need to be in the first priorities of the Squamish Municipal Budget.

 

3.  A recent study of the economic impacts of Arts, Culture & Heritage in the Sea to Sky corridor revealed that currently the gross economic output of the sector is estimated at 26 million dollars annually.  When confronted with a listing or map of many dozens of cultural resources (as recently outlined in the Economic Impact Study), it is difficult to ignore culture’s “footprint” and to cling to a more limited view of culture as funding for the local museum or arts group.  With meaningful support from the District of Squamish, the potential contribution of  arts, culture & heritage is significant.

 

Question   What approach would you take for municipal support and funding of Arts, Culture and Heritage.  

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It is amazing the amount of money generated by the artists and their events in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Any donation to them is an investment in both the profits and the advertising of Squamish.

 

As I work at the Hotspot many new people are first introduced to the Community Services Directory thru me.  The directory is a way to get people involved immediately.

Many organizations need the Hotspot to put their ideas into print.  I have a vantage point in the community at the Hotspot as I learn of what is needed by organizations and help them to access the means to achieve whatever is needed.  For funding many rely on the few to write for long hours those grants application forms.

 

I am in the election to be an effective vote on Squamish Council.  I would prioritize the budget items to put the Arts, Culture, Heritage and grants for the underprivileged first.

 

4.  Squamish Arts Council constitution directs us to foster interest and participate in the preservation of cultural facilities and institutions and the cultural landscape and heritage of the community.  Our cultural landscape includes our vernacular geography, which currently translates to world class 360 degree views.  Our amazing viewscapes are our No. 1 amenity.  Nowhere else in the world can one find the second largest granite monolith on earth being abruptly met by the sea.  Our surrounding viewscapes are also steeped in First Nation legends and stories.  We all enjoy our viewscapes.  If protected they will entice visitors and residents to our community in perpetuity.   Our magnificent views are the connective tissue that confronts and confirms our sense of place and spirituality.

 

Question  How do you value our viewscapes, and how would you ensure that they are protected in perpetuity?

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I have been opposing Squamish Council and the old lines on the old maps for 3 decades.

I have been unsuccessful in 7 elections.  4 in 3 years as there were 2 by-elections.  I helped in the beginnings of the Squamish Estuary Conservation Society and was effective in helping to enlighten Squamish Council as to the votes by the Public Involvement Work Group for the Squamish Estuary Management Plan long after the work group was disbanded by the government.  The members continued to work toward a local agreement from the early 80s’ till 1999.  

 

Only the District of Squamish was the obstacle in protecting the entire estuary.  The District of Squamish has developed on those old plans in the last three years to the horror of many who mourn the loss of the Ponderosa Pine and the views. 

 

The next 3 years will see more of the same loss of sky views if the voting pendulum swings the same way. 

 

I am in the election as a natural step from speaking in opposition to the development of buildings over 3 storeys or along the waterfront.  The waterfront is estuary and the sooner the District of Squamish protects the estuary the sooner it can be promoted thru the filming of TV series world wide and the sooner the work to restore the fish stocks can be successful.  Perhaps the sockeye salmon cannot move from endangered species to extinct.  It is up to the electorate to make the pendulum swing in favor of protecting the estuary and the mountainous watershed.  I am in the election to be an effective vote on Squamish Council to protect the sea to sky views.

5.  There were a number of Arts & Culture related questions submitted regarding opportunities on our prized community owned oceanfront land.  This question submitted by a local educator reflects a typical sentiment.

 

Question  I would like to know whether you support setting aside a significant amount of greenspace on the southern shore of the Nexon Land oceanfront properties for a municipal park.  Specifically, do you support a park with enough greenspace to hold festival celebrations (tents, vendors, etc.) and eventually a multi-use arts and cultural building?  I am so happy that we, the citizens of Squamish, now own this land, but I am worried that it will all be developed with little thought given to the artistic, cultural, and community-building opportunities that such a park would support."

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Nexon Land oceanfront properties.

What a waste of money just to offer either the intense development or the “like Squamish” development options.

I support setting aside all of the Nexon Land oceanfront properties for a municipal park and extending it North to Rose Park.

 

The outdoor events were profitable and extremely enjoyable.  One building set back from the waterfront, with facilities for multi-use arts and culture is necessary, as we need to utilize the area all year round.

 

This would be a natural addition to the Squamish Arts Council if they are now ready to manage the building.  Certainly it would be profitable and there is no end to the developers wanting to build in Squamish and share these profits until the building costs are paid. 

 

As Squamish Council is already in debt the taxpayers cannot be expected to pay for the building.  The District of Squamish and the Squamish Arts Council could work together with a private company to achieve the goal of the building at Nexon Beach. 

 

Nexon Beach should be promoted as a beach and kept as a recreation area with an admission fee.  There is a debt to be dealt with and maintenance will have its costs.

 

Certainly these inconveniences are preferable to the complete loss of the open area, the views, the open access and the opportunity to hold events on public land.

 

I am in the election to be that effective vote for sky views and public places.

 

When asked about it again, I added that a P3, 20 million dollar building, a Private Public Partnership project would be how to build a Squamish Arts Council building at Nexon Beach so as to have events there year round.  One building at Nexon Beach, for events year round.

 

I was able to use most of the answer to question 6 for the questions from the floor. Thanks to the Squamish Arts Council for this opportunity!  This election is certainly the most interesting!

6.  What is needed for Squamish to become a memorable cultural destination?

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Speaking with actors in the business for decades who were working on Men in Trees in Squamish, I learned that they love everything about Squamish. They visited the Squamish Nations Culture Centre, the Brackendale Art Gallery, the Squamish Public Library, the Brackendale Art Gallery, the Adventure Centre and all the shops they could, enjoying finding works of art to take home.  Their problem was their disappointment with the Squamish waterfront and they asked me what are they doing developing it with condominiums?  Why isn’t it protected?

 

To be a memorable cultural destination Squamish must stop the development of the waterfront, stop the high density housing, stop the building heights at no more than 3 storeys and let Squamish be the beautiful place people love to live in.

 

There are neighborhoods with homes on double lots with fruit trees and gardens that need to be valued and protected.  Living amongst gardens, fruit trees and forests is not urban sprawl.  It is co-existence with nature and healthy for the environment.

 

The URBAN FORESTS were to be maintained by this Squamish Council and encouraged with tree planting because trees increase shading and maximize C02 absorption. 

 

This URBAN FOREST ITEM IS NUMBER 11 ON THE Global Warming Action Plan passed Feb. 6, 2007.   One Ponderosa Pine was all that was asked to be spared.

 

I am in the election to be an effective vote in opposition to the devastation for developments so as to make Squamish a wonderful memorable cultural destination.

 

The last question was about diversity in business. 

I was able to draw on my meeting with Dave Crewson from Squamish Sustainability Corporation who posed the question.  I remembered that Squamish is now part of the Fibre Optic Highway because of the Olympics 2010.  Squamish will attract people to enjoy the views while working online in their businesses worldwide.  

 

Must add now that there are many environmental companies employing highly educated people from all over the world to restore the natural assets, the fish stocks.  These experts need people to do the labor, so Squamish workers are being re-employed saving the estuary! 

 

What I wrote, when I first received the invitation to the Squamish Arts Council All Candidates Meeting

ART REFLECTS REALITY

The renaissance movement so many centuries ago showed how powerful an influence is that of the artists. 

Being educated in Victoria included contacts for me with the Art World thru dance lessons.  Ballet is accompanied by classical music, jazz to jazz and modern music, tap to swing, baton to military marches so I got quite an introduction to all kinds of music before I was 10.  

 

As a teenager in the 1960s’ I was influenced even more by the huge changes in music with the British Invasion by the Beatles and the many different music groups from there then.  Traveling to California at 15 was an introduction to a world of practical art in pottery, clothing and paintings.

 

Victoria has more studios than Squamish but the heart of the artist is apparent in Squamish thru the festivals brought about by the Squamish Arts Council.  A worthier group for funding can not be found!  The beginnings I remember were of cozy meetings in the A Frame building at the entrance to Hospital Hill.  The Squamish Arts Council has evolved into a major force in Squamish thru the volunteer efforts of its’ members. 

 

Now we have the internet to publicize the events and views of the Squamish Arts Council.  What needs to be considered by the electorate of the next Squamish Council is the inspiration that brought the members of the Squamish Arts Council to Squamish.  The inspiration is in the natural setting of Squamish.  To pave this paradise is to force the members to move on to greener pastures or to begin to change their artistic output to paintings of grey buildings and sunless streets  of unhappy people as did Chris Blades when he moved to Vancouver.   Instead of music inspired by the song birds it will again be from the mechanical rhythm of machines. 

 

Seeing the reintroduction of plans to pave the oceanfront for tall buildings and pollute the waterfront with marinas it is obvious nothing was learned from the previous refusal of the electorate of Squamish to go along with plans for the expensive plans for Oceanfront Development.

 

I believe there should be no buildings taller than a 3 storey tree.  That is not a 47 foot 3 storey tree…  All that was asked on the waterfront was the preservation of the Ponderosa Pine to live out its’ healthy life with us in our traditional picnic area.

 

The devastation of the waterfront will destroy the estuary there.  It is time for the lines on the map to change with the times.  The Squamish waterfront does not have to be a repeat of the devastation of the Vancouver, Surrey, Delta, North/west Vancouver and every other waterfront. 

 

The artists have a different vision for Squamish that keeps Paradise for the people to reap the benefits of the estuary.  The few blocks of downtown and the other areas already impacted can be developed with 3 storey buildings.  The rest should be left for the return of the beach parties, the fishing industry, the return of the filming industry, farming, bird watching of huge wise old birds and tiny songbirds.  Then the Squamish valley will hear the thunder of frogs and the smell of money will be on a strong clear Squamish wind. 

 

It is important not to replace the polluting heavy industries with polluting masses of people.  The beauty of the tourism industry is that the tourists either bring their own accommodation or use hotels on a temporary basis.  Squamish benefits with a constant flow of people year round and doesn’t have to accommodate all of them permanently.

 

Many people want the restoration of the Squamish Beaches for inspiration and profit and lots of fun for lots of people. 

 

Squamish is a beautiful beach and marsh area, priceless and irreplaceable. 

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