The only constant is Change
Keeping Roberts Creek awesome
I want to share my platform ideas with you so you can make an educated decision on who to vote for.
Much of what happens in terms of future development in a community is guided by the Official Community Plan. Here is a link to the current OCP so you can inform yourself on what the community is already working on. This OCP was developed over a number of years by passionate members of the Roberts Creek community, including the former long-term director of Area D, Donna Shugar. It is a fine document with many great ideas and guidelines. I generally agree with everything in that OCP. That being said, the document was completed in 2012, and since then several important issues have come to the forefront.
My general plan
I believe in a proactive form of government. We are currently scrambling to find solutions to some issues that have reared their ugly head in the last few years, like water, solid waste and affordable housing. Much of it has come on more quickly than anyone expected, but I believe we can catch up on these issues and then create a plan that will take us into the future with more resilience to extraneous forces, be it climate change, real estate value or waste management. We have some very current and urgent issues that need solving, and my intention is to find long-term solutions and plans for these issues that will incorporate the needs of our community now, and into the future. During my Masters, my research involved the municipality of Whistler, and their visionary Whistler 2020 document, which looked 15 years into the future, and allowed them to leverage immense and lasting benefits from the Olympic Games that have paid off positively in the long run. While the SCRD does not have the deep pockets, or the Olympics, I still see a benefit in looking ahead past the four years of an election cycle and creating a plan that goes well into the future, especially in this time of climate change, population growth, and resource scarcity.
Probably the most divisive issue in this election, finding more drinking water for the Coast, is a key priority. There are currently several options under investigation. One is to replace the temporary siphon on our current water source, Chapman Lake, with a permanent solution to be able to draw more water out of it. There are also four test wells that have been drilled to investigate the potential use of aquifers and ground water. Another option being discussed is the creation of large reservoirs to tide us through the dry months. To go ahead with any option until we have all the information at hand is foolish, in my opinion, but it is also a little hasty to discount any of the options before the information is in. I suspect that it will take a combination of all of these options to be able to cope with the future population growth in the SCRD, as well as to create a buffer for better resilience against the unpredictable nature of climate change. That being said, considering the environmental and financial impact of these measures in the decision making process is crucial. If the siphon replacement ends up being implemented, we certainly need to make sure that the environmental impact is minimized, or, if that chunk of protected area is removed from the provincial park, that some form of compensation in nature's favour comes out of the negotiation.
In the meantime, we can improve our water conservation efforts considerably by implementing pay by use through water meters. Why? Simple: What gets measured gets managed. The cost of water on the Sunshine Coast is going to increase, because these capital investments in your system are on the horizon. I believe that the increased cost should be carried by those that also use the most water. Without incentives to conserve water, very little conservation will happen. With metered water in place, other measures like rainwater collection and
grey water recycling will become more attractive. That being said, a tiered system will have to be established so that farmers and industrial users aren't charged the same as households, as we want to encourage farming on the Coast. I look forward to the discourse with the community on this matter.
According to this article, our landfill could be full as soon as 2025. We need to create a plan now to make a smooth transition to our next option. We don't have any backup sites, haven't evaluated other options or done our best to reduce our diversion efforts. Gibsons has moved from collecting garbage weekly to bi-weekly, freeing up some capacity to collect bio waste. We could do something similar in the SCRD. In Roberts Creek, where we tend to have larger properties that allow for composting, we have an opportunity to reduce the amount of garbage we create through measures like:
- Subsidizing bear-proof backyard composters, like this one
- Encouraging and educating recycling options
- Creating initiatives to help those that can't recycle (elderly, infirm, mobility-impaired)
Here is a link to the current solid waste management plan
While I applaud the decision to legalize marihuana, I also agree that unregulated and unlicensed large-scale (more than 4 plants) growing of cannabis should not be allowed. Fire hazards, smell, energy consumption and organized crime are commonly associated with unlicensed grow-ops. I applaud the current motion to "close the door" to the cannabis trade within the SCRD on or before Oct. 17th, with the full intention of moving forward with setting up a legal and controlled production, distribution and sales of marihuana once a consensus on best practice approach has been reached. My plan is to drive that decision making process forward so we don't get bogged down for too long.
Affordable rental housing is already a big issue on the Sunshine Coast. This is as a result of several factors: A recent influx of new people to the Coast, the increase of rental rates and real estate prices, and the removal of viable rental properties due to the conversion to short-term vacation rentals. I believe that we need to investigate options to create a viable, sustainable community that accommodates all walks of life here. In Roberts Creek, around the downtown core, some increased density is already present in the form of the co-housing development, but I believe that in order to accommodate those looking to live in a small, low-maintenance home, with possible mobility issues, some apartment buildings may be a solution. I'm looking forward to engaging in community dialogue on this matter.
I certainly have opinions and thoughts about many other things, so check out my blog, as I will continue to build this site as a discussion forum.