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My Policy Priorities
- Good governance requires cooperation and respectful dialogue, with residents, city staff, and between council members. I pledge to work respectfully and collaboratively with everyone who is elected to the next council.
- Continue to cultivate a strong relationship between the City of Nanaimo and the Snuneymuxw First Nation based on cooperation, collaboration and mutual respect. Work together to protect the livability of this area by:
- Managing growth through a comprehensive planning and development process.
- Protecting regional biodiversity, including ecologically sensitive areas in the Nanaimo River watershed and estuary.
- Work with senior levels of government on complex cross-jurisdictional issues:
- Improve health services through a major expansion of the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital including a new patient tower, and new wards for expanded cardiac care, cancer care and psychiatric care. Improvements and upgrades to NRGH will attract new doctors and health care workers to the city.
- Develop more affordable housing, including supportive housing, low-income housing and cooperative housing.
- Advocate for criminal justice reform to improve public safety based on models that have proven successful in other jurisdictions. For example, the Portugal model has reduced criminality and drug use. Drug courts can divert repeat offenders with mental health and addiction issues to treatment programs.
- Pursue evidence-based solutions to the addiction and mental health crisis, including expanding the number of available treatment beds, building more supportive housing and funding programs that help people get their lives back on track.
Affordability and Managing Growth
- Partner with senior levels of government on funding for affordable housing, including supportive housing, low-income housing and cooperative housing.
- Speed up the process for development and building permits.
- Incorporate inclusive zoning to ensure affordable units are created with each new housing development. Developers who opt out should be required to contribute to the affordable housing reserve fund for affordable construction elsewhere in the community.
- Purchase properties in the city using the affordable housing reserve fund for non-profit, supportive and cooperative housing.
- Increase Nanaimo’s residential density around a series of neighbourhood urban cores that incorporate commercial, office, education and recreation spaces. Connect urban cores with public transportation corridors. Achieve increased residential density by encouraging the development of secondary suites, laneway housing, townhouses and small multi-family dwellings.
- Create specific affordable zoning for non-profit and cooperative housing projects.
- Continue to lobby senior levels of government for financial support, criminal justice reform, expanded public health and harm reduction services, and additional treatment facilities.
- Support combined health, housing and community safety response to the city’s current challenges. Engage in a collaborative approach that includes health care workers, public safety officers and the RCMP to effectively address mental health, addiction, social disorder, and repeat offenders.
- Enhance the new Community Safety Officer program by including outreach workers.
- Create zones where small groups of 10-12 unhoused people can stay in sleeping cabins in a controlled environment with access to water and sanitation, similar to what has successfully been done in Duncan and Victoria.
Community Resilience and Sustainability
- Implement and expand the current city action plans to mitigate the effects of climate change
- Ensure emergency responders and auxiliary teams are well equipped and prepared for climate-related disasters including wildfires, flash floods and extreme storms.
- Continue to plan for improved active transportation infrastructure for walking and cycling.
- Continue to expand public transit services in the city and create a hub and spoke system connecting neighbourhood urban cores with major transit corridors and minor routes with smaller buses connecting outlying areas. Focus on low carbon and zero-emission public transit.
- Work towards zero waste and a circular economy with the goal of 90% diversion of waste from the landfill.
- Retrofit existing city infrastructure to ensure energy efficiency. Expand energy efficiency programs and incentives for homeowners, rental units and businesses.
- Protect green space in and around the city including ecologically sensitive areas such as the Nanaimo River.
A Strong Local Economy
- Create the conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive. SMEs are the engine of the local economy and are able to pivot and fill gaps when international supply chains are disrupted.
- Ensure affordability for the local workforce.
- Maintain the natural infrastructure and expand the social and recreational infrastructure that create the quality of life that we enjoy and which attracts people to the region.
- Improve local food security by creating the conditions for local urban agriculture to thrive. Find and fund a location for a permanent indoor farmers market
- Support local arts, culture and recreation organisations and expand related infrastructure.
There is work that needs to be done for our community. I’m stepping up because I have skills, I have experience, and I want to make a difference.
The challenges we are facing demand action. We have an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Community safety is a big concern. The pandemic and the flooding last year showed us how supply chain disruptions make us vulnerable to shortages of food and goods. The action we take on these issues has to come from a deep understanding of the problems. I want to use my knowledge of these issues to serve the community and put forward solutions that have been demonstrated to work. It is possible to improve affordability, safety and community resilience with the right policies in place.
We live in a very special part of the world. If we are going to maintain the quality of life that attracts people to the city then we need to manage growth. If we want workers to stay here, if we want our children to raise their families here then we need to ensure affordability. If we want to strengthen our local economy, we need to create the conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive here.
The current council set a positive and progressive course but we need to follow through with action. I have a strong track record of working collaboratively with community stakeholders. I worked across party lines to get things done in parliament and I’ll bring the same cooperative approach to my work on city council. It’s essential that as elected officials we listen to residents, be responsive, and work hard to meet the needs of the community, because there is a lot of need right now.