Questions posed by the Bowen Island Undercurrent:
- What triggered you to make this step and run for municipal office?
My decision to stand for Mayor was not so much triggered as it was a logical step informed by the last decade working at the foundation of our community – volunteer organizations – and on council.
The priorities of council are borne and nurtured by the passion and commitment of volunteers. A commitment demonstrated most recently by the leadership role the Knick Knack Nook has taken, working with the volunteers on the municipal Solid Waste Resource committee (SWRMAC), to fund the search for on-island composting solutions; and the ground-breaking approach our Community Foundation has taken through its ‘Vital Conversations’ to demonstrate the effectiveness of civility and consensus in building community.
Sitting on council and on nine committees over this past term, I have gained a detailed grasp of the complex inter-connectedness of the issues we face and the relationships between council, committees and staff. The 30+ hours a week I have devoted to the job of councillor have given me a solid understanding of how to work within the unique constraints of local government for the best interests of our residents. This work has left me with a great appreciation for the drive and personal sacrifice our volunteers, municipal staff and elected officials make to nurture and strengthen this beautiful island.
- What common ground do you share with the other candidates running in this election?
My island neighbours in this election have acted on their love of Bowen and the courage of their convictions to take a bold step into the political arena. It is evident from the list of candidates that our next council will be diverse, enthusiastic and hard-working. As mayor, I will use my experience and knowledge from the last three years to help accelerate the learning curve of the new council, and get us working towards consensus sooner so that we can turn our attention to the priorities of the island.
- What are your top three priorities for Bowen?
Social, environmental and economic viability and vitality are inextricably linked one to another. I believe isolating priorities like infrastructure, environment, economy, transportation, health care and diversity of housing inhibits our success. Each has to be addressed as an integral part of a pragmatic approach and a plan for incremental action.
However, there is urgency in several areas. On-island, providing independent and supportive living for seniors becomes more critical every year. And closely tied to this is the expansion of the on-island health care services necessary to give peace of mind to all of us, especially for seniors, those with chronic health issues and families with young children.
Off-island, senior government decisions about issues beyond our shoreline will have a direct impact on Bowen Island over the next four years and for decades to come. On issues like transportation, Howe Sound and access to funding we need to build consensus on Bowen, with neighbours, like-minded communities and senior government around pragmatic approaches and action plans to further our interests.
- Tell me about the community work you have done that you are most proud of.
Reflecting on my volunteer experience, working with the Chamber of Commerce executive to ‘Bring a Bank to Bowen’ saw the establishment of our First Credit Union branch; and working with the executive of Bowen Community Housing Association which was as the catalyst for policies around affordable housing requirements for new developments and for identification of the need for diversity of housing in the OCP.
Most personally satisfying has not been these big wins, but the delight children took in the Bowen-themed gingerbread houses I have made for Island Pacific School and Tir-na-nOg Theatre School fundraisers. Like all of us, it’s still the small things that keep me grounded and connected to what’s important in life.
- How will you work to make council open to the concerns and ideas of all Bowen Islanders?
Consensus is not possible without a fully informed public. Over this term I have advocated for better communications from council, not just about the how, what and why, but about the challenges inherent in its decisions. Communication is not one-sided and we can do a better job of both transmitting and receiving.
- What do you love most about living on Bowen Island?
Last week at the Howe Sound Forum, hosted by the Squamish Nation, Chief Gibby Jacob challenged us to ask ourselves, “Why am I here?”
I’ve thought about this a great deal. I’m on Bowen Island because I share this whole-hearted connection we all have with this island. I love the quiet and the dark and the green. I am grateful to call Bowen home, and I want to continue to serve you – this term as your mayor.