Let's tax only as much as we need to provide services & build the things that we all need and use.



    A comprehensive approach to business taxation, development processes, and entrepreneurial incentives can make us open for business.



    Industrial chemicals don't belong in our air, our sewage doesn't belong on our ocean or river, and our garbage does not belong in someone else's backyard.



    A high-speed race track is good business but unfairly affects resident neigbours, who were there first.



    From Chemainus, Crofton, Maple Bay and through the South End, everyone should have a fair chance to get the benefits of living in our great Municipality.



    Composting sewage may be good for our environment but smells should not seep into neighbouring businesses .



Talks at Resident Associations

The news is always full governments saying they have to consult, or people saying they didn’t consult enough. What really gets me about all of this is the word: consult. I mean, what does consult mean any way. I don’t think the word means the same thing to everyone. It sure means something different to oil companies and environmentalists, The oil companies say ‘ well we told you what we were going to do” and the environmentalists say “ and we told you we didn’t like it. The oil company consulted because they asked and the environmentalists weren’t consulted because they weren’t able to change things. Locally it happens all the time. They have these ‘public meetings’ that I usually find out about a week later. When you walk in, there are a handful of people and you think , ‘hmm good turnout ‘ until you realize most of them work for the muni. The rest of them may be there for the coffee, i’m not always sure, but they ask a few questions to which the staff give them the canned answers they’ve rehearsed. Then a few months later you read about how they’re doing this or that project after ‘extensive’ public consultation. I mean, really? Take Crofton for example. Crofton just got a beautiful new upgrade, I mean you should see this. Brick crosswalks, raised no less. New ‘old timey’ street lights, flower pots, really no expense was spared. But here's the thing. No one really asked what the people in Crofton really wanted. They did ask, afterwards, if the people in Crofton liked what they got and about 50 of them sort of did like it. And by the way, the budget for the project was about 750,000 dollars. And you think wohoaw, that's a heck of a lot of money for the work that was done. THen someone tells you that it really cost double that, that it cost one and a half million dollars Now what I wonder is this. If the muni went down ahead of time and Asked, you know, consulted in a meaningful way, would the people of Crofton, for a million and a half dollars, have picked raised brick crosswalks? Or would they have picked something else, like something to deal wioth the ferry traffic in the summer? Maybe a community center? I don’t know. But would it have been raised brick crosswalks, benches , and old-timey lights. Here’s the thing , local governments don’t act local. They act like they’re bigger than their britches. It’s about time North Cowichan actually did some consulting , and it’s about time they listened to what people actually needed and wanted , and it’s about time they came up with a plan. We can’t keep lurching from one tempest in one teapot to another.
After the first all candidates meeting last night in Crofton I realized this election is about something broader than the usual “I want to do something good for my community .“ This election is about an actual choice. Think for a moment about the cliffs that are short hike from the road that overlook Sansum Narrows and Satellite Channel and imagine for a moment an eagle soaring over that pristine clean cold water. And think then for a moment about the plans our municipality has to pipe sewage into that water. Can you see the plume as you look down? Can you imagine if the Maple Bay beaches will be affected. This is a very expensive project and will drive tax increases for years. Doing the right thing, doing full sewage treatment will cost even more. We can’t keep dumping it in the river like now or pipe it further downstream. Can we? Think for a moment about some of the things you’ve heard and will hear some of the candidates say in relation to, let’s pick one, affordable housing . It seems kind and caring, and it is but what it always means,always, is that In some way or shape or fashion, it will cost money, money that will have to come from you, and me, and every one who pays taxes. Now, Council did finally put together a secondary suite policy, and I think that’s great, but it was in the works LAST election. , but it took well over four years. What else they HAVE done is get involved in the actual “making “ of affordable housing. Projects at Somenos & Chemainus. We can quibble about the terms of involvement but they are involved So let's be clear. There are a number of candidates up here who want to take us in the direction of increasing taxes despite what they say and spending money on social programs And there are a number of candidates up here who want to run our municipality in a common-sense reasonable way that will make sure we do the things we need to do, that will make sure we have the development we need , and not the development we don't want and that will make sure that we keep a lid on taxes. So we have a choice. we can choose the tax & spend, and take money from your home to make affordable housing for other people, or we can take the practical steps tp to make housing more affordable for everyone. That’s the choice. On election day, when you hold that little pencil to mark you ballot pause for a moment and think of choice. And make the choice.
Federal and Provincial governments exist to paint the broad brush strokes. They look after defense, trade, health care, welfare, environment, waters & oceans.. They look after the big stuff that affects the nation and province. The details, the fine brush strokes, they leave to municipal governments. Local roads, arenas, parks, water supply , sewage, land development, police, fire - these are all of the fine details, for the fine brush of municipal government. Local government should focus on the micro, not the macro, the fine strokes, not the broad. Not everyone agrees. The two previous all-candidates meeting have set the tone. It’s clear that there is a slate of candidates, including our incumbent Mayor, who want to focus our attention, and our money, on the big issues. On issues even senior governments can’t or perhaps shouldn’t tackle. Social housing, homelessness, climate change, and so on. All things North Cowichan can’t solve, and shouldn’t. I’ll stand with the other candidates, the candidates who don’t want to MAKE affordable housing, but make housing affordable, the candidates who aren’t focussed on climate, but want to save Quamichan Lake, the candidates who aren’t afraid of new business and industry, but want to see good, planned development, and finally, I’ll stand with the candidates who don’t just pay lip service to keeping a lid on taxes, but actually believe the taxpayers in our community matter just as much as anyone else. This election is about choice. Do we choose to tackle the huge issues of senior governments, and tax and spend our way to the same failures they have? Or do we choose to stick to our own backyard, to clean up our lakes, deal with our sewage, our garbage, to fix the potholes, build the police station? Let’s focus on the fine brush strokes of what development goes where, where we build, and where we can play. On election day you have a choice. When you hold the small pencil in the voting booth think about choice. Do we save the world or do we save Cowichan?

Dig Deeper

I’m running for office because I love the Cowichan Valley. I live in North Cowichan and so that’s the right place for me pitch in to preserve, protect, and enhance. I grew up here playing in the forests, fishing the streams, and want that same kind of experience for everyone who chooses to make this their home. My business experience tells me there are solutions waiting if we have open minds and want to find them, over wanting just our own result. My life experience tells me that people with fair hearts will listen if you listen to them. That’s what I want to do.
I’ve worked with and led people in organizations large and small, 120,000 employees to 5 employees for over thirty years. I’ve learned how bureaucracies work, how things get done, and how things get stalled. I’ve learned the benefits of experience and the quicksand of entrenched thinking. My experience spans engineering, construction, regulated utilities, and multinational energy companies. I’ve worked with trades, with lawyers, with executives and from the shop floor to the boardroom, I will bring my strong record of getting things done with the necessary diplomacy, salesmanship, innovation, and determination.
Affordable housing applies to everyone, not just the usual connotation of those with less money. It applies to seniors, to young families, to students : everyone. It’s a universal issue. Bandages are not enough. Taxes can’t pay to build housing. That’s not workable. Simple supply and demand drives prices. The supply of housing choices is too small. North Cowichan can make housing more affordable for every person. Zoning that gets builders building, that lets people house-share, that increases the numbers and kinds of housing everywhere. That’s the way we make it affordable for everyone.
People are driven by convenience and value. Let’s face it, that’s why malls work. Chemainus & Crofton both have a lot going for it. Great scenery, small town feel, and a nice core. But an attractive town won’t get people to the businesses if the services aren’t convenient. The town is largely set up for tourism, which is good, but could definitely attract more core services. That would bring people there to use both the needed services and the discretionary ones. So how do you drive business choices? Money. And that means tax and zoning approaches are the best way to get this done.
Most property crime comes from drugs and the related culture. People generally steal because that is the only way they can get money for drugs. Working is not an option. The only way to stem this is policing. Now that doesn’t mean novel solutions can’t be used. Duncan has a great program where they control the downtown with private security. The presence and active engagement has virtually eliminated the issues in the downtown area there. So with crime observe, report, and engage. The RCMP are the engagement tool, but more observation and reporting could be done in a cost effective way.
This is simple: close the Catalyst Mill and Coast Environmental operations (tongue-in-cheek). These are the major sources of unnatural odours in the area. But I know that may not be practical. I think the issues with Coast Environmental could be addressed through a business approach. As a business they are driven by financial motives. Let’s see if we can find a solution where they can win by getting rid of the odours that doesn’t cost the rest of us any money. I think we can do it.
I support all referenda. I believe in asking the citizens directly affected as often and as many ways as practical. Like any other citizen I will make my choice on this vote privately. I am not a current official and am not on the CVRD Board. In the event I was, I would support initiatives that would benefit people I was elected to represent, which would be North Cowichan. At this time it’s inappropriate for anyone to expect me to surrender my right to the privacy of my vote or to comment as if I was elected.
I believe that all citizens should have access to housing that is safe, functional, and within their means. I do not believe that the Municipality of North Cowichan has a role to directly fund housing projects for any person or group. This is a provincial and federal responsibility. North Cowichan should certainly use any funds available from senior governments for housing towards that end. North Cowichan has the mandate to develop a robust, healthy housing market that will serve every person of every budget.
As a Councillor I would not directly work with other ‘governments’. The Council, through the Mayor, will be responsible for that. To your point, I will of course be open to discussions from anyone in any government, or official body, or group, or citizen to get ideas and feedback on positions I should take on various topics. Where possible I would attempt to build bridges of cooperation and agreement without an bias or prejudgment. Being open minded in looking out for the citizens of North Cowichan is the job I’m standing for.
I will support any environmental strategy that makes sense for the taxpayers of North Cowichan if it is based on clear, understandable science. On any topic we should be guided by science, not hearsay. To the extent that we have proof that effects are being felt or are immediately imminent I would support strategies to mitigate or manage those effects. Aside from that I believe we can make North Cowichan, which would be within my responsibility, demonstrably carbon neutral, and encourage regional related bodies to do likewise.
As a Councillor I will support growth through logical densification that leverages existing infrastructure and makes it more efficient. What we do in North Cowichan can affect the rest of the region but, again, North Cowichan would be my focus. Considering population aging and the idea of reducing car trips I would encourage walkable neighborhood services, increased commercialization of already established “mall areas”, etc. Let’s get people out of their cars and let’s drive to Victoria or Nanaimo less. After all, should we really have to fire up the car for a quart of non-GMO organic milk?
The most pressing issues facing local governments are the delegated authority they have from the Province. These are primarily responsibility for water, air, delivery of utilities such as water, sewage, garbage, etc, the development and maintenance of roads and facilities for general public use, and public safety. To the extent these are the fundamental issues, they are the most pressing. Secondarily, the health of our communities depends on a good balance between amenities, natural and commercial, industry, and citizens. Encouraging that healthy balance is important.
Accountability happens every four years based on how elected officials have performed. Local governments are required by law to take reasonable steps to consult on major issues or possibly be subject to reversal of bylaws. The notion, however, that local government should seek consultation of each individual vote, issue, or idea is unworkable. Citizens have an obligation to be active and proactive, to seek and understand local issues, and to engage in those that they feel important. There is no top down substitute for being individually responsible for our joint welfare. Otherwise, why have elections?