On the advice of my doctor, after a series of deaths and other big losses, I took some private time to care for my family and process my grief. (not something that is easy to do in the public eye) I missed 2 Council meetings and then attended by phone for a bit. I've been back at the table in person for a while now. I am freshly back from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention where I advocated to the province, alongside Council, for various needs and wishes including a new Cowichan High School and a new hospital.
And, I have decided to put my name forward for Council for this next term.
My platform is basically the same is it was the first time around, and you will find it peppered all over this website.
I've said publicly and privately, that I believe voters in NC were pretty well represented around the table this last term, and that is when I feel the best decisions get made.
And boy, many important ones were made. (the list is not exhaustive)
Council Matters (sign up for weekly reports)
Public input period at the beginning of the Council agenda
Several productive meetings with Cowichan Tribes
A new protocol of cooperation and collaboration with the City of Duncan
Five additional partners in Aquatic Centre (bringing in more revenue)
Replacement of Chemainus River Bridge (fully funded by grants)
Municipal Hall Addition (award winning)
Kingsview Road roundabout
Extensive Flood Protection works
Revitalization By-Law (to attract new business)
Bonsall Creek Watershed Planning Initiative
Chemainus Commercial Development
Boys Road UV Water Treatment
York Road Pump Station
Progress on Stony Hill Road
Two more parcels at Stony Hill added to Parkland
Cowichan Regional Visitor Info Centre
Echo Heights future settled ( 91% parkland)
University Village Local Area Plan
Crofton Revitalization & Maple Mountain Trail
Waterwheel Square (in progress right now)
Streamlined Development Application Process
RCMP Detachment Siting (not on the flood plain)
Esplanade Waterfront Property Purchase (future seawalk and potential marina)
Council Communications Plan
Siting of Chemainus Skatepark
A dedicated reserve to save $ on municipal energy costs
We are no longer overly reliant on one business (who in the competitive pulp and paper market and the changing economic climate could be gone anytime in the future, taking jobs and spin off jobs and taxes with it)
The Committee I was privileged to chair, the Climate Action Advisory Committee, with extensive community consultation and a wonderful consultant delivered an award winning Climate Action and Energy Plan and is working on implementing its recommendations. The CAEP Implementation Plan should be tabled October 15th. We stand out as one of the only municipalities that has .5 % of overall taxes dedicated to addressing and mitigating climate change and the rising cost of energy, which is happening on municipal energy bills just like those of us at home. In the long run, the plan will also help reduce the Municipality's energy costs and is projected to create over 600 non-municipal jobs by 2050.
Communication and improving community engagement continue to be high on my priorities and I am proud of Council Matters (sign up here to get it in your inbox) and the public input session at the beginning of Council meetings, where people can give Council their input on agenda items before they are voted on, and I'd like to see us create a culture of respect about municipal matters, in the community and around the table. To that end, another thing the Communications Committee came up with was a Council communications plan, which i was pleased to help develop.
I generally support UBCM's Strong Fiscal Futures: A Blueprint for Strengthening BC Local Governments' Finance System and hope NC Council and NC citizens will press the Provincial Government to sit down with UBCM and work out ways that could take some of the burden of burgeoning municipal costs off property taxes. A sea change like this makes much more sense to me than successive Councils across the province seesawing back and forth election to election around the issue of property taxes, while they spiral ever higher over time. Grants are helpful, but don't always come through and staff spend a lot of precious time writing proposals for them. (using our money to attempt to get more of our money)
And I'd like to see the conversation shift some, away from viewing folks only as taxpayers but as full participating citizens. Full participating citizens can help us define what we want, what we need now, what we can wait a bit for and what our children and grandchildren will need going forward, including a healthy, sustainable environment, upon which we all depend.
To me these things seem like common sense.
I like to think many in the community feel the same way. I guess we'll see on Nov 15th.
Please feel free to contact me at anytime through this site, or on FB at Kate_Marsh.