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: Whats the first motion you would bring forward?

Candidates in Feb. 27 by-election chime in on what their first motion would be if elected

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. 6, we asked: What is one motion you would put forward to the rest of council for consideration within the first two months of being elected?

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

Ken Blackburn

I think it is wise for a new Council member to listen and learn in the first couple of months. Don’t rush into motions.

But to answer the question, I would put forth a motion to change the language currently used in the City budget as ‘Grant-in-Aid’. These line items are funding to not-for-profits. This is very outdated language that implies a charity donation not investment. Investment in our non-profit sector has equal value to investment in the private sector. The language should change in the budget to a ‘Community Investment Fund’ reflecting that money going to non-profits is indeed a community investment – investments proven to be value generating, both economically and socially. The not-for-profit sector accounts for nearly 9% of GDP in Canada. People are surprised to discover that this is larger than forestry, mining and fishing combined.

A wise Community Investment Fund fosters a healthy social and environmental community. This is a key component of economic development.

Language matters in how we perceive value. Both private business and not-for-profit organizations are in this together and serve to make each other stronger. They are equal partners in community investment.

Doug Chapman

The motion I would like to bring forward to Council would be to authorize Council to make an appointment and go meet with the Premier, the Minister of Finance, and our MLA, to discuss the needed lobbying effort to the Federal Government to create a $500 Million Economic Development Trust for the Campbell River area. This Trust could be managed through either Western Economic Diversification or through the B.C. Provincial Government.

The Trust would be used for interest free loans to assist all businesses to transition from the current open net method of fish farming to a land-based fish farming. These funds would be available for land acquisitions, capital improvements for land-based fishing farming infrastructures and for processing plants so that the fish could be processed in the Campbell River area then exported or sold domestically.

Kealy Donaldson

Council needs to secure Campbell River’s economy for the future — we’ve progressed from an 18 month logging strike to Covid shut downs AND NOW 1,500 Salmon Farming jobs sits in the swing…. Economic recovery isn’t going to be easy IF this is full scale. The Canadian Salmon Farming Industry head offices such as Mowi and Cermaq will either significantly decrease or move out of our community. It will take huge adjustments to even come close to replacing these jobs; this shutdown will pull over $100 million out of our economy.

Some remember the impacts of the mill shutdown, this could be the equivalent. I’m confident that Ocean (Blue) Economy is viable for this area – tidal energy and land-based aquaculture are examples of what a new industrious Campbell River could look like! Strong representation was made to our federal government but the political reality appears to already be in motion. If we lose aquaculture, the federal government and our province need to step up and provide a serious stimulus package for recovery.

2008’s Black Friday put Canada’s automotive industry on the brink of collapse. The auto unions and companies lobbied hard and $9 Billion dollars in economic AID was released and these plants were saved. Will the Federal Government bail out the WEST after bailing out the EAST. This would assist in retooling the Salmon Farming Industry. City council has done the right thing by lobbying to overturn this Federal decision but they SHOULD also be lobbying for Economic Aid to SAVE LOCAL JOBS.

Devon Garat

I would move to increase security and RCMP presence downtown, and it’s surrounding areas. The downtown core gas become a place were locals feel uncomfortable and that will have long term consequences to business and city moral. Housing and social programs take a long time to develop so this would be the one option that could make a difference before the next election.

Wes Roed

Considering that the learning curve for sitting on council will be steep, combined with a schedule that council only meets bi-weekly, I feel I (or any candidate) will be hard pressed to find the time to make such a motion. In those first two months, I will be studying policies, strategic plans, budgets and the like in order to have a better and effective understanding of what this seat on council fully entails.

During this time however, I am sure there are many motions already in the pipeline before council that need consideration before adding to the mix. This does not mean that should an issue or concern arise from the public that is brought to my attention, be unworthy for consideration. Quite the contrary, as a public servant, I and the rest of council have an obligation to listen and then consider any idea and notion that has merit.

One option to consider is for the City to allocate some of the funding from the Province in Covid relief, which is earmarked for economic recovery, and apply a specific portion toward implementation of some of the suggestions from the C.R. Economic Recovery Task force report. This motion could include plans for how we are going to roll out the Task Force suggestions, as the PHO’s related to Covid are adjusted and we move through gradual re-opening.

Laurel Sliskovic

My motion would be to build in the process of evaluating the potential for bike lanes prior to and/or during any and all road construction (or other infrastructure projects that are located on roadways and other transportation corridors) that happens within the City of Campbell River.

We have experienced challenges in this community with a number of projects over the past few years, and each time a bike lane gets bypassed as a priority, our active transportation enthusiasts (myself included) notice, react, then take up time and resources that could be better spent. With the Province of BC’s CleanBC Active Transportation Plan and grant money directed specifically at active transportation initiatives, Council and staff could work cooperatively to identify funding opportunities and best practices in the planning phases of complementary infrastructure projects to proactively enhance our transportation options.

Providing leadership and guidance in support of City staff and active transportation advocates in our community is a role I am excited to take on as a Campbell River City Councillor!

Sean Smyth

I would move to establish an Economic Development Authority to tackle the three pillars of our economy with pragmatic and constructive recommendations as per the business recovery task force. It is critical this group be structured as an authority rather than an advisory committee.

The city must be a key participant in the process, but it is important to allow business and industry leaders to make the final decisions. This input enables more effective decisions for the good of the community.

The business and industry leaders would be key players from Forestry, Aquaculture, Tourism and Housing. Together, they can collaborate and build a template for the economic future of our community. We have extensive local expertise to build an in-house team with the knowledge to make things happen.

Forestry and Aquaculture can address labour shortages and staff housing issues, plus lobby for municipal support from other levels of government. The tourism industry can obtain assistance from the current challenges they are facing plus any infrastructure issues that affect their operations. Finally, we have the three largest rental apartment developers in western Canada based in town. They should be included in the dialogue when revising our Official Community Plan.

Watch for more from the candidates in the pages of the Mirror between now and general election day, Feb. 27, and online at campbellrivermirror.com

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