Area D Director Brenda Leigh is running again in this fall’s election.

Brenda Leigh is running again for Area D

Director was first elected to regional district in 1993

Brenda Leigh has served regional director for Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake (Area D) for 25 years, from 1993 to the present, and has announced she is running again.

She also points to her years of experience in the resource sector as well as five years of university and a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University.

“One of my main objectives is to keep Area D’s taxes under control. I do this by keeping us ‘rural’ and by avoiding debt and unnecessary expenditures. Consequently, Area D has been an affordable, wonderful place to live and raise our families and to retire,” she says.

Leigh says she wants stability for Area D. Unless the majority of people in Area D ask for a new service through referendum, she will not support the imposition of high-priced services upon them. She also led northern Area D to vote against two failed amalgamation attempts by the city in 1992 and 2014. In the last “take-over” attempt, northern Area D voted 83.5 per cent against joining Campbell River for a sewer line. By staying “rural” and declining to be governed by the city, Leigh says, the area saved thousands in unnecessary property taxes over the years.

“I am currently supporting a Supreme Court challenge to bylaws that were unfairly imposed and doubled the water rates for northern Area D water users. The case has commenced and the Area D Water Defence Fund — which is funding the costs — will be in court again on Dec. 17. We are very confident that we will succeed in getting the Water Rates Bylaws quashed. People should be aware that many other methods of resolving this dispute were sought, including asking the provincial government to intervene, but it came to the point where court was the only option. I am very glad that we are now making progress on this.”

Leigh says under her leadership, Area D has maintained a healthy 8.9 per cent growth in population and a 12 per cent increase in their assessment base. She says she has also developed and opened nine parks and numerous trails and wildlife corridors over the years.

She points to her role on the Regional Hospital Board in 2008 as being critical in getting a new hospital in Campbell River. Another priority is, as the library board representative, to supply new library services in the region, including a possible new 22,000-square-foot library in Campbell River.

For the coming term, she hopes to continue her work as chair of the Black Creek-Oyster Bay Committee, which is installing a new well to secure more water supply for the people of Oyster River. Almost the entire cost of this project is covered by a grant from the Federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. They will also be undertaking improvements to the Oyster River Dyke with $400,000 Emergency Management BC funds.

“I do hope that people will take the time to learn more and to vote on Oct. 20,” she says. “Inexperienced candidates can make grandiose promises about delivering a sewer system (rejected by at referendum by 83.5 per cent in 2014) and a community hall (rejected by 66 per cent in 2008). We don’t need any new water system, but we do need fair rates in the north of our area. This is not to say that if people want a service, they cannot have it re-considered. However, everything is studied and engineered and costed before it becomes a public proposal at a referendum. As director, you do need to know how this is done to be effective. And it can’t just be a few, big landowners demanding service extensions at the expense of everyone else.”

Leigh says she stands by the “majority” and her loyalty is to the “99 per cent of people who just want to enjoy their beautiful, rural lifestyle” in Area D, adding the community does not need any more multi-million dollar promises.

“Let’s ‘keep Area D rural’ and keep our taxes stable and as affordable as possible. If I am re-elected, I will go to great lengths to ensure that Area D citizens are treated fairly and respectfully. I believe that I am the leader with the majority trust who truly cares about all the people of Area D. I am not just another ‘corporate’ candidate. I stand for the ordinary citizens of Area D and I believe that my track record over the last 25 years speaks for itself.“