Quadra Islander Marc Doll hopes to be an organized voice for the Strathcona Regional District’s Electoral Area C (Discovery Islands and Mainland Inlets).
Doll is the second to throw his name in the hat for the position, which has been held by outgoing director Jim Abram since the late 1980s. Doll says that things are about to change really quickly for Quadra Island and the area as a whole, and that “the political landscape that we have currenlty of one director trying to do all things for everybody without a political infrastructure behind that position means that the changes that are coming, we’re not ready to face them together.
“The community really needs an organized voice to figure things out and take on housing challenges that are coming to us, to be able to communicate back to the SRD in more than the voice of one person,” he said. “Things are changing so fast here, and we don’t have our hands on the steering wheel. We need to organize ourselves so that we can put our hands back on the steering wheel as a community and start steering the boat.”
Those changes, he said, are in housing, climate and food security.
“Quadra Island is an incredibly desirable place,” Doll said. “Where we’re going right now is a place where we may end up with a hollowed out community where people can’t find affordable housing, where people can’t find a home, where our workforce is disappearing, where the only age demographic that’s increasing is 65 plus, and where every other age bracket is being hollowed out.”
The past few years have shown how fragile things can be, especially living on an island accessed by another island.
“We are at the end of a supply chain. We’ve discovered through COVID what a kind of teetery, unstable supply chain means,” Doll said. “We have to look at how we can start looking more at our selves for a lot of our answers.”
For food security, he said he plans to develop it more on the island and help create a resilient food culture in the area. For housing, resilience is also top of mind for Doll, particulary in diversifying the housing stock to attract and keep more diverse people to the community.
“There’s workers who don’t have homes, there’s affordable housing, looking at and having that conversation: do we want to look at cooperative housing? Do we want to look at co-housing? Agricultural housing? Tiny homes as options?” he said. “How do we look at the zoning that’s currently here and where can we make changes in the zoning for a future that involves more than just highest, best use for that piece of property?”
Doll acknowledges that he has similar ideas to the other declared candidate Robyn Mawhinney. However, he says that being able to bring the voice of the community to the SRD table is his strong suit.
“When somebody is doing so much, you have the ability to just rely on them. What ends up happening at that point is that you have all these other things that fall by the wayside, all these other connections that happen when people have the ability to come together.
“There’s not a big ideological difference (between candidates), I think. What it comes down to is experience and ability to really bring voice to the community, so it can tackle the challenges that are coming down the pike,” he said. “I think that’s what I’ve done for a very long time. It’s what I have the skillset to do and I think that it’s what this island needs to be able to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead: be it housing, the climate, food security, and any number of little things that we haven’t even though about yet.”