Tackle the Housing Crisis:
- Adopt a new affordable housing strategy for North Cowichan that includes a wide range of policies and regulations to expand the affordable housing supply.
- Secure provincial funding for housing project with the Community Land Trust Foundation of BC to build nearly 100 townhouse and apartment units on municipal land on Sherman Road.
- Require all major housing developments to include a minimum percentage of units affordable for low and moderate income households.
- Lobby the federal and provincial government for funding to build affordable housing in North Cowichan.
- Introduce land use policies and bylaws to encourage affordable housing, such as rental-only zoning, density bonusing, and infill development.
- Fast-track development approval process for garden suites and coach houses, by providing pre-approved designs not requiring individual form and character review.
- Encourage non-profit housing developments by fast-tracking applications, providing municipal land, and waiving Development Cost Charges (DCCs) and building fees.
Defend the Environment:
- Implement actions in North Cowichan’s updated “Climate Action & Energy Plan” with a target of reducing local emissions by 80% over the next 30 years.
- Continue to partner with local environmental groups and residents on programs and initiatives to address water quality issues and restore fish and wildlife habitat in the Quamichan and Somenos Watersheds.
- Develop climate change adaptation strategy recognizing the increased risks of extreme weather events (floods, wildfires, heat waves) and sea level rise.
- Work with local naturalists and residents to introduce a Biodiversity Protection Policy to identify and protect wildlife habitat and other sensitive ecological areas throughout the municipality.
- Sustainably manage North Cowichan’s water supplies through water conservation measures and long-term planning, recognizing capacity limits of our major aquifers.
- Expand tree canopy cover across municipality by developing an urban forest strategy with an annual tree plating program, and updating the subdivision and zoning bylaws.
- Expand and improve North Cowichan’s system of parks and trails, balancing recreation uses and conservation of environmentally sensitive areas.
Strong Local Economy:
- Work with the Cowichan Valley Regional District to encourage a regional approach to economic development, concentrating on the manufacturing, value-added forestry, agricultural, tech, tourism and arts & culture sectors.
- Establish eco-industrial parks where businesses and the broader community can co-operate to reduce waste and pollution, efficiently share resources, and help achieve sustainable development.
- Continue to revitalize existing town centres in Chemainus, Crofton and near Duncan through infrastructure investments including enhanced streetscapes, public plazas & squares, and sea walks.
- Minimize the tax burden on local residents and businesses by restraining growth in municipal spending and generating new sources of revenue to lessen North Cowichan’s reliance on property taxes.
- Advocate for a Vancouver Island regional forests strategy to empower local communities in the management of our forests, with a focus on increasing employment, improving environmental sustainability, and partnering with First Nations.
- Lobby the federal and provincial governments to provide funding to restore rail service on Vancouver Island, providing passenger service between Victoria and Courtenay and freight operations on the entire system.
- Implement a municipal Living Wage Policy for contracted work with the municipality, setting an example to business that will improve living conditions for workers while injecting consumer dollars into our local economy.
- Work with local neighbourhoods to implement traffic calming and speed reduction measures to increase safety for children, seniors, pedestrians, cyclists and other users of public roads and rights-of-way.
- Build protected bike lanes, multi-use paths, walkways, sidewalks, tree-lined streets and landscaped boulevards to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, while also reducing automobile dependence.
- Advocate for BC Housing to build more supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness that will include on-site supports (e.g., counselling, employment training), and to Island Health to expand capacity of addictions treatment facilities.
- Lobby the provincial government for funding to help the municipality tackle issues related to street disorder, cleanliness and public safety affecting local businesses and neighbourhoods.
- Partner with the Province, City of Duncan and Cowichan Tribes to address traffic safety and congestion through Trans-Canada Highway Corridor by improving local road network connections, constructing a multi-use path from Boys Rd to Beverly St, and building a pedestrian overpass near the new high school.
- Expand policing presence in Chemainus, Crofton and any North Cowichan neighbourhoods concerned about increased criminal activity.
- Work with the Province to establish a nurse/paramedic mobile team to respond to mental health-related crises to reduce burden on local police (modeled on CAHOOTS program in Oregon).
Maintain Rural Character:
- Partner with UBC to complete the review of North Cowichan’s community forest, and implement a new forest management plan based on public input.
- Focus future growth in established centres within the Urban Containment Boundary and encourage infill development to prevent urban sprawl into rural and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Implement policies that protect greenspace and rural values, including conservation subdivision design, site adaptive planning, and protection of scenic corridors.
- Partner with local farmers to develop new Strategic Agricultural Plan to improve local food production and strengthen economic vitality of farming.
- Work with the Province, Young Agrarians and Cowichan Agricultural Society to explore leasing municipally-owned property for local farming activity.
- Advocate for the Province to provide supports to address local farming issues, including lifestock slaughter capacity, water access, secure land and training for new farmers, market supports for small-scale producers, and climate change adaptation.
- Work with Cowichan Valley Regional District, First Nations and local farmers and residents to address flooding in lower Chemainus River watershed.
I currently serve as Councillor for North Cowichan, having been elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. During this time, I have also served a Director with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Prior to my involvement in municipal politics, I served on a wide range of community organizations including the boards for the Cowichan Land Trust and Volunteer Cowichan. In addition, for several years I wrote for the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial.
For more than a decade, I have been employed by the Province of British Columbia, currently as a director in the area of post-secondary education and skills training, and before that as a policy analyst with responsibilities for Indigenous education, immigration policy, and newcomer settlement. I previously worked in the pulp & paper, forestry, and construction industries.
Born and raised in North Cowichan, my family has deep roots in the Cowichan Valley that go back five generations. I currently live near Mount Tzouhalem with my wife, two daughters, and our boxer Daisy, where we enjoy hiking, swimming and playing sports.
Reason for running
We are facing a number of growing challenges in North Cowichan, from a lack of affordable housing and homelessness, to environmental degradation and the effects of climate change, to a loss of high-paying jobs and a rising cost of living. Local government can’t solve all these problems on its own, but we do have the tools to make a difference.
As a life-long resident with a strong track record as a municipal councillor and community volunteer, I can provide the strong leadership and new ideas that the municipality will need to work with local residents to address the big issues facing the community.
My top priorities as Mayor, if given that privilege by the people of North Cowichan, will be to tackle the affordable housing crisis, defend the environment, build a strong local economy, create safe neighbourhoods, and maintain our rural character. Through hard work, involving local residents in decision-making, and aggressively lobbying the senior levels of government, we can accomplish a great deal over the next four years.