Watch: Squamish District mayoral candidate Mike Young

Watch the elevator pitch and read campaign Q&A from Squamish District mayoral candidate Mike Young.

As part of our coverage of the 2022 municipal election, Chief Squamish has sent questionnaires to all candidates running for council or mayor. Identical questions were provided to each candidate, who had the opportunity to send in written responses.

The following are the unedited responses for this candidate. Those who have not responded by the press deadline do not have responses to post.

Additionally, contestants were also asked to film a short elevator pitch. This candidate’s elevator pitch is embedded in this story.

Please provide your name and political party

Mike Young – Premier Squamish

How do you think the council can help solve the housing affordability crisis in Squamish?

The council can fast-track affordable housing and purpose-built rentals. These applications should be prioritized based on the needs of our community.

Collaboration and strengthening relationships with the provincial government, federal government and First Nations are essential to creating more accessible housing for all. An aligned and focused board is critical to success, which has not been the case in the past.

The Squamish Community Housing Society is a great initiative, but more needs to be done to bring about significant and lasting change.

Housing affordability affects everyone, from our youth to our elders. We want our children to have the opportunity to continue to live, work and play in the place they love to call home. We want to make sure our seniors and the middle class have housing options. We want to ensure that we have adequately provided for transitional, supervised and subsidized social housing.

Some locals have asked for a pause in development on private land, but the council does not have the power to do so. How are you going to reconcile this disconnection?

Development must be halted immediately to allow our community to create the amenities, infrastructure and community services needed to catch up with our growth.

Our elected officials ignored public outcry to slow development.

The number of units built in the last two terms is staggering. We are all witnesses to the impact of these decisions.

Council has limited powers to affect development on property that is already zoned.

However, they have the power to make decisions regarding future rezoning and land use planning.

I would propose to temporarily freeze development in the town center until council creates an adequate land use plan that protects our precious landscapes, our heritage and puts public safety first. Downtown rezoning applications will be put on hold and a pause will be put on the proposed densification of Garibaldi Estates. Exceptions will be made for rental units built for affordable and attainable purposes.

Do you own property in Squamish? When was the last time you rented?

When my wife and I moved to Squamish in 2001, we were blessed with the opportunity to purchase our first home. Before moving to Squamish, we were tenants in the Lower Mainland.

Due to the nature of my business, I have witnessed first hand the ebb and flow of vacancy rates, cost of rent and real estate values ​​in Squamish. I understand the housing issues we face and the impact this has on our small businesses.

How do you usually get to work? When was the last time you took a bus?

Earlier this year, I bought an electric bike to commute to work when the weather and my schedule cooperate. When I’m not on my bike, I usually drive my compact company vehicle.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of my business, which includes evening meetings, last minute issues and emergencies, I cannot use public transportation.

I recognize that expanding public transit and accessibility is essential to the success of our community. This is another area that has been overlooked.

We need to be creative and look to other communities of similar size, patterns of growth and change to find innovative opportunities to address these challenges.

Did you have to find daycare in Squamish?

My children (ages 16 and 13) were born in Squamish, so it was extremely difficult to find daycare, so I understand many of the challenges we face today when it comes to childcare.

I was proud to be part of the team that helped build the Sea to Sky Community Services Early Learning Center on Second Ave. My daughter participated in the infant and preschool program there. Even back then, infant and toddler programs had to be planned well in advance. This is a systemic problem that exists not only in British Columbia but across Canada.

The fact that the development has been unprecedented and there is no strong leadership or proactive planning, our community does not have the infrastructure or resources to meet basic needs including childcare of children. Families deserve better.

Do you own or have you ever owned a business in Squamish? Do you pay commercial rent?

In 2006 I started my own small business and have been extremely proud to build it from scratch to the industry leader it is today. Entrepreneurship is not easy; I understand the challenges our business community faces.

We started our business in shared office space and eventually purchased commercial space downtown. I have both paid and collected commercial rent, I understand the pressure as a landlord and tenant.

Do you think Squamish has a parking problem? If so, what will you do about it?

Yes. There is a huge parking problem in Squamish. The community told me that despite expressing their outrage, they were fired and repeatedly told there was no problem.

If elected, I would explore an option to build a multi-use parking lot on district-owned land in the downtown area. The building would be large enough to build a new municipal hall in partnership with the school board and have public parking spaces. This multipurpose parking can solve 3 problems in our community. First, it will solve parking problems downtown. Second, we will no longer have to rent a new municipal hall and we will be able to own the asset. Third, it also provides a solution for the school board.

We can design the multi-use car park with a less car-dependent future in mind, where the design of the building takes into account features intended to enable smoother adaptation to alternative use.

I would also ensure that there are no more parking gaps for developers.

In what ways would you support the board in the face of the climate crisis?

Climate change should be at the forefront of all decision-making. We have a responsibility to preserve the environment for future generations. Addressing these challenges involves creativity, community, education, conversations and policy advocacy.

If elected, I will introduce smart development guidelines that will ensure that all new developments that occur are connected to active transportation, schools, child care, sufficient road networks with a traffic plan and district-wide circulation. Developers will be challenged and tasked with producing plans that focus on energy efficiency and low carbon energy sources to achieve net zero communities.

I am not in favor of the rezoning of existing green spaces and will advocate for the preservation of our natural resources.

The municipality controls by-law making, budget planning and approval, committees, appointments to boards and commissions, and general oversight of municipal administration. Within those powers, what didn’t the last tip do that you want to make a priority?

I have spoken to many residents of our community and what I hear repeatedly is that the municipality, mayor and council are not transparent and have not listened to the people of this town. Not being seen or heard has created division and a level of frustration, distrust and anger.

The last board failed by continuing to grow and not investing in much-needed infrastructure upgrades to keep up with growth. Four years ago, the community demanded that development be slowed down.

Initiative, vision and management have been lacking. We are now in a state of emergency regarding the health and safety of people residing downtown. Our schools, hospitals, sports facilities, daycares, roads, parking lots, trails and public structures are inadequate to handle the growth we have experienced.