Campbell Riverites head to the polls on Feb. 27 to fill the empty seat on city council.

Campbell Riverites head to the polls on Feb. 27 to fill the empty seat on city council.

Municipal By-Election Candidates answer a question from the city’s youth

Candidates in Feb. 27 by-election chime in on climate change from city’s Youth Action Committee

In an ongoing series leading up to the Feb. 27 municipal by-election, the Mirror has been asking the candidates a series of questions about why they want to be on Campbell River City Council, what perspectives they will bring to the position and what they hope to accomplish should they win the open seat.

For question No. 7, we were approached the City of Campbell River’s Youth Action Committee to see if we were interested in having them write one, based on what the youth of our community would like to see addressed by council.

We absolutely were.

They asked: “Since everyone always says the youth are our future, how will you, as a city councillor, help create more environmentally-friendly policies and deal with environmental issues in our community to take what action you can on climate change while balancing the importance of the economy and social issues so that we can thrive in the future we’re going to be in charge of?”

Their responses are as follows, in alphabetical order, exactly as they were submitted. Devon Garat did not respond by press deadline.

Ken Blackburn

I have spent many years teaching youth about assuming leadership roles within environmental issues, social challenges and economic management with a focus on entrepreneurship. As a Councillor I will start by engaging you, the youth of our community, in the discussion. If this world is to be yours (as you say) then begin shaping it now. Start with educating yourself. Understand the complexities of the challenges and the timeframes needed for solutions. There are no simple answers. Change takes time.

Education is key. Know the issues. The Youth Action Committee is a good place to begin – it has the word ‘action’ built right into it. Get Active! As a City Councillor I will help you prioritize. I will emphasize active volunteer opportunities that engage with all aspects of our community. Listen to people’s stories – this is the heart of community development

Mentorship is key. Alongside community engaged work there must be Leadership training and Skill Development training. You will benefit from learning from professionals who are on the front lines of our community.

Begin with the Climate Action Plan. Did you participate in the survey? Why or why not? Become familiar with the 33 actions and the difference between Mitigation and Adaptation. Seek to translate concepts into LOCAL ACTIONS. The City has a role here in putting together the programs needed to get you started on your personal journeys. As a Councillor I will be there to help.

Doug Chapman

This is a good question because it brings to the forefront that the policies that Council establishes can affect the community well past the mandate of the current Council. Policies must deal with current situations and future events. I think that this is important for people to consider when they go to the polls on February 27th.

Council needs to examine the Official Community Plan (OCP) and change the permitted population densities that are allowed. By increasing population densities, public transit would be more effective and efficient. Next in the OCP and the Transportation Policy, we need to be creating and promoting protected bike lanes wherever and whenever possible. These lanes can be used by bicycles and scooters.

In the OCP, we need to decide where commercial centers are going to be. Clearly, we have multiple now. By creating more population density, and to reduce travel times for people, we will need to carefully consider where we should permit commercial centres. Basically, they should be located where we decide the highest amount population densities will be located.

Lastly, I think the City should show some leadership by acquiring and using electric vehicles wherever possible. The City can offer taxation incentives for property owners such as malls etc. to provide charging stations for electric vehicles.

Kealy Donaldson

We are at a critical point in the planning of this community; Campbell River has to make progressive changes to our Official Community Plan – this process needs your collaboration and consultation. As a community, we need to face important decisions together such as our housing crisis, a new landfill facility, transportation corridors, emergency services and recreational upgrades. It’s time to focus on a long range 5-10-20 year VISION for comprehensive urban planning. It’s time to create LEGACY for generations to come – for ALL citizens of Campbell River!

Campbell River was born as a resource based community; forestry, mining, and fishing are the economic backbone of generations here. As these industries adapt to the environmental solutions of today, climate change hinges on the way we, as people, consume energy. Making changes in policies, technology and behaviors that encourage less waste and smarter use of our resources will proactively lessen the impacts on our environment. Some examples of new industries include wind/tidal/solar power and biofuels from organic waste are all viable and accessible for Campbell River businesses. Industry Adaptation and Indigenous teachings are already strengthening a new dawn for our resource sectors. This community’s VISION needs environmental policies including and highlighting urban green space, urban cycling and low-impact transport routes, solar panel windows, living walls and Smart City Technology.

Steven Jewell

As a parent of two teenagers myself, I’m concerned for their future and want to see a world that has equality and opportunity for all. They are my hopes and dreams. I volunteer at the Campbell River Sea Cadets parent group to support the Cadet training hall with fund raising and hall repairs. I do this to promote a youth program that teaches leadership skills, discipline and respect. Should I make it to council I know the struggles for funding youth groups have. I would be a force for funding and youth develop programs. I would work on improving our cycle ways and outdoor space. We need to have youth engaged in healthy activity. I’d like to see the installation for a green waste recycling in town. The closing of the green waste at the far side of Willis rd is a disappointment. I feel it would be worth council looking at the Blue Community again. I feel we should be installing more of the blue public drinking fountains giving people healthy choices.

Wes Roed

There are two questions here that are about planning for our future and the other regarding our youth. The youth are indeed our future, no doubt about it, and will be, the driving force behind significant change in regards to the environment. We need to engage, listen, learn and act on what the future looks like in their eyes.

Environmental issues are here…now! All of us, young and old alike, are the caretakers of our planet and in order to be good stewards, it means being proactive rather than reactionary. Instead of waiting for issues to arise, we must all, council included, do our part to move to a more sustainable environment that recognizes the social and cultural significance and propels our economy in a prosperous and innovative way.

If viable and within economic means, it would be prudent for council to consider ways to: reduce the amount of landfill waste, expand curb-side recycling and organic waste diversion, offer more charging stations for electric vehicles and to evaluate the creation of cycling and pedestrian corridors to major arteries as road repairs continue just to name a few.

Good stewardship is best practiced by leaving something in better condition than how you received it. I cannot think of a better legacy for our children and future generations. Our generation has benefited so much in terms of forests, oceans, natural resources and clean air. Do our children and future generations deserve less?

Laurel Sliskovic

So great to answer a question from the YAC! Yes, youth are our future, and just as importantly, we all need to make better choices now, regardless of our age. Demonstrating leadership through everyday actions, whether it be volunteering for a social or environmental organization, reducing or eliminating environmentally destructive behaviours, and/or learning and encouraging others to learn about local actions and global thinking are all ways in which each of us, every day, can help to mitigate the climate crisis. I studied sustainability as part of my master’s degree and I see tremendous opportunities for our environment, our social networks, and our economy to interact harmoniously. Clean tech, the circular economy, responsible development, vibrant cultural creatives – these initiatives are here and happening, and I will nurture and develop those connections through my role as a City Councillor and outside of municipal government.

Building positive community relationships that enhance our connections to the environment and reward climate positive behaviour can be our standard. We need to continue to celebrate and uplift people of all ages, abilities, and circumstances who are part of solutions, and find ways to invite and encourage all residents to be better local and global citizens.

Sean Smyth

It is important to acknowledge that climate change and the spin off impacts of changing temperatures are a reality of the future. If overlooked, the youth of this world are going to be in major trouble. Local climate change initiatives are always a tough sell because it is a global problem, and the costs are born locally. There is much that can be done at the municipal level.

Vancouver Island has roughly a three day supply of fresh produce which is shackled to a vulnerable transportation system. Growing local produce should be a continuing thrust of our food sustainability policies. I have been critical of the Official Community Plan, however there are parts where progress has been made such as converting limited, underutilized park space into Community Gardens and encouraging active transportation options.

We can turn climate action programs into economic development programs, which will help secure funding from other levels of government. All projects should be looked at through an environmental lens to ensure that environmentally sensitive areas, such as stream courses and rivers, are well protected. These types of policies need to continue.

The needs and challenges of our community are unique to Campbell River which require solutions relevant to our jurisdiction.

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