In an ongoing series leading up to the Feb. 27 municipal by-election, the Mirror will be asking the candidates a series of questions about why they want to be on Campbell River City Council, what perspectives they will bring to the position and what they hope to accomplish should they win the open seat.
For question No. 1, we asked: Should you be elected, what unique perspective or skill set would you bring to city hall that you feel would be of benefit to city residents?
Their responses are as follows, in alphabetical order, exactly as they were submitted. One candidate, Devon Garat, did not submit a response by press deadline.
I feel my greatest strength is my experience understanding the importance of community connections when working toward positive community development. I have worked internationally for 10 years in community development and have spent the past 16 years here in Campbell River. I am an active listener. In order to know what the right questions are to ask, one must spend the time engaged in active listening in order to understand the diversity of voices and perspectives within a community. I have worked with social service agencies, health organizations, the hospital, transition houses, youth organizations, senior homes, multicultural groups, First Nations artists, the city administration, private businesses, business development groups, environmental organizations and on. The ‘connective tissue’ within communities is where effective partnerships are established and community complexities are understood.
No one sector, whether of public, private or not-for-profit, can solve community challenges on their own. We need cooperation between our social, economic, environmental and cultural organizations if we are to encourage inclusive and diverse participation. And I have discovered over the years that Campbell River’s greatest strength is not it’s amazing geography (which is hard to beat anywhere in the world!) but rather it is the strength and dedication of the people working on the front lines of our community. I am in awe of the work accomplished in this community by so many people. I highly respect the work they do, work that many times goes unnoticed by the general population. I feel my ability to communicate effectively within the diversity and complexity of the issues they address, is an asset I wish to bring to city leadership and governance.
Working in the local government field for the past 35 years as a chief administrative officer, chief financial officer and corporate officer has given me a solid understanding of the complexities that local governments, in BC, face each day. I have been deeply involved in community visioning, strategic planning, and development policies, with various local governments, and designing the required work plan to implement the goals and objectives of Council.
Decisions that a Council makes varies widely in complexity. Councils are required to deal with issues such as: financial planning; changes to the Official Community Plan; Zoning Bylaws; Development Permits; Development Variance Permits; recreation; public works; water collection, purification and distribution; sewerage collection, treatment and disposal; fire protection; policing; animal control; and regional issues such as solid waste management just to name a few. Whatever the decisions that Council makes; they must be made as to what is in the best interest of the community as a whole.
I have worked in Public Relations, specializing in Community and Indigenous Relations for the past 15+ years in Campbell River; I am also a Certified IAP2 Member which is the International Association for Public Participation (proven methodologies for community engagement and feedback on important issues). My slogan in this election, and in my work, is Community – Collaboration – Consultation. This is key to building a better tomorrow for Campbell River. As a community, we are going to have to come together and collaborate on the upcoming OCP Review and large Community Infrastructure Projects that we are facing as Campbell River grows. This is going to require the consultation of all Campbell Riverites and User-Groups. We are at a critical mass in the development of this community for future generations. Now is the time to build lasting legacy that will allow the proper foundations for the City of Campbell River and its citizens to prosper. I am deeply passionate about Campbell River as our community and am invested here in business, property and family. I am asking for your vote to ensure transparency and integrity to the upcoming processes that we will be facing together as Campbell Riverites.
I came from a working class family. My parents worked hard to raise myself and my two sisters. I have a down-to-earth prospective and value your tax dollars as much as I value my own. I came to Canada as an immigrant bringing my family with me. I know how hard you have to work to become a Canadian. There are many new Canadians in Campbell River. I can relate to their hopes and dreams of a better life. I also have a multi- cultural family and therefore, can appreciate the differences that make up our community
If elected to office, I feel that my greatest strength is the ability to listen (not just hear) what individuals and groups are saying, collaborate with others on council and then move to action. I am someone who likes to ask questions: to learn about an issue from all sides before trying to make an informed decision.
Like you, the voter, I am aware of the issues that face us in Campbell River, but I need to hear from you and your perspective. If elected, the seat I will fill is not mine, it is yours.
My unique perspective comes from my choice to study and form a career that is rooted in leisure, recreation, tourism, and sustainability. My graduate degree thesis focussed on local tourism participation and how it contributes to quality of life for residents, right here on Vancouver Island. I have earned a reputation for trust and professionalism within the fields of community-based research, sustainability, and leisure.
How we foster and develop healthy and accessible opportunities for our residents in their leisure time can, and must be created from a place of knowledge and understanding of all the factors that promote and inhibit participation. Many of the ways in which people feel connected with others is through our shared leisure experiences – from volunteering to mountain biking, from music to pickleball, and from fishing to reading – and the ways in which we create and support the places and spaces for these experiences are an integral part of a liveable community for a diverse population.
As our city grows, our ability to sustainably develop multi-modal transportation networks, innovative economic opportunities, parks and greenspaces, and neighbourhoods that are safe and accessible for all residents will depend on engaged and informed leadership within the City.
During my time as a member of the Airport Authority, I earned a reputation for tackling difficult problems and making things happen. I am told I am a clear and effective communicator who works well in a team. I focus on looking at the end goal or the objective of a project, then working backwards to figure out how to achieve that objective. A mentor of mine once told me to seek out experts that are good at what they do and to listen carefully to what they say. Those who have worked with me in the past, know that I seek out facts before I head down the road of resolving problems. Honestly and integrity is a priority in all my decision making.
I bring the unique background of working with every industry that supports the City of Campbell River, forestry, aquaculture and tourism. These diverse industries have taught me to adapt quickly and think on my feet.
My wife and I are both working professionals with young children, we know and live the challenges facing young families in our community.
Watch for more coverage of the municipal by-election in the coming weeks in the lead-up to general voting day on Feb. 27 and find more information on the candidates and the election itself online at www.campbellrivermirror.com