Community is Everything.
A strong community really is one of the most important things any City can accomplish. Port Alberni has always had great community spirit and its strengths will always come from the close knit relationships of its residents. I moved back to Port Alberni because of that small town community spirit and lifestyle and I see many more people coming exactly for that.
Our Business districts, on 3rd, on Johnston, on 10th, all have empty storefronts. In fact we have one of the highest proportions of empty commercial spaces for a town our size in the province. This is a symptom of the decline of our industry based economy. In it’s place we must focus on people and place making. What does that mean? It means focusing on creating spaces in those areas that cause people to want to live there. Beautify them, make them easier and more desirable to walk and be active in.
We have seen plans from the owners of the former Fairview Market along these lines… also the new development that is set to occur at the former ADSS lands will bring a significant number of people into the area. This is how storefronts get filled, and those stores get business.
We must focus on this as a community.
We’ve seen wonderful improvements to our one and only developed seaside park. The response from the community has been amazing and I know it will only grow in popularity. We must also use it as an example of the success that comes from returning waterfront access to residents. We need more!
The past four years has seen an explosion in the need for affordable housing across the province and in Port Alberni as well. We must be active partners with community organizations like the Shelter Society, ACAWS, and CMHA. We can also look at building housing ourselves as a City as part of our own new buildings.
Fire and Protective Services
I will continue to support our fully staffed fire department. Not only are these good jobs in our community, they provide excellent service that keep our insurance costs and other costs low for the entire Valley and we benefit from regional volunteer fire departments as well. This is a good mixed model for our community.
However, we also must recognize that costs cannot continue to increase. I believe this is an issue that affects every community and demands a provincial, cost sharing solution.
One of my key goals for this term will be to start the conversation with other communities and the province to look at different models of funding fire departments. The current models are unsustainable, but the need for immediate and full response from fire services will only increase.
This probably isn’t the section to post this, but I wasn’t sure where it would fit.
I have a question.
Councillors have a rather hectic schedule and many obligatory functions, events, meetings, etc., they have to attend. With you working at the University in Nanaimo (and I am presuming you still do) how are you going to achieve this? Which area of your life is going to be most affected? Will it be time taken from your personal/professional life or will you have to decline invitations and/or obligatory presence for your position as Councillor?
How can you assure the citizens of Port Alberni you will do your job as councillor to the absolute best of your ability? Of course there will be some events, meetings etc., you will have to miss, all councillors do, but what percentage of those incidences will you be declining?
Thank you for your consideration and your answer.
I wish you the best in this endeavour.
Thank you very much for your question. This is indeed a question that I had to think long and hard about (months, years!) and consult about with my family and work. Another facet is the big debate recently about the pay of councillors and mayor and their work load, etc.. two do work full time apparently (Kerr, Chopra and Washington?).
It all came down to whether we (myself, my family, my coworkers) thought I could make it work and make a significant difference in the process. My workplace (including my union) are very supportive.
So we thought I could.
How it all works out practically will simply have to be bridges that I cross as I get to them. It will likely mean giving up my use of BC Transit to reduce my CO2 emissions and driving/parking expenses as I will have to drive the full way to work to be able to get back and forth in the shortest time possible. It will mean a lot of late nights and time away from family. It will mean I likely do more work digitally from home for VIU, which I can do thankfully, and it will mean I do some of the work of council digitally as well.
It won’t be easy, but I feel very strongly that there is a lack of a voice from exactly my type of demographic. We have business people, and retired people on council, but younger people with families, who work full time and are just trying to make ends meet need to be represented as well.
I certainly am not doing this for the financial reward or to take the easy path. I’m doing it because I love my City and I feel I can help bring a new vision forward and I will do everything in my power to be the best councillor I can possibly be.
Thanks so much for writing,
We live in the Sproat Lake area, and so can not vote for you – but wish we could. Your platform and ideas are right on. Good luck – we will back you any way we can! Kerry
Thank you Kerry! All I ask is that you spread the word 🙂
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