Over the past eight years on council, I have had the privilege of working with the people of Cumberland and I am so proud of our achievements.
During that time our little village has done some BIG things, like being the first community in B.C. to implement a social procurement framework, which maximizes community benefits from public purchases; developing a precedent-setting agreement between forestry companies/UROC/village so that we could secure the public use of our amazing trail network; being one of the first communities on the Island to establish environmental protection areas as part of development permit process that requires biodiversity, terrestrial, watercourse and riparian protection; all while moulding Cumberland into a renowned recreation and cultural hub. We secured several large grants, have started our important sewage system upgrades and have completed major infrastructure projects such as the new fire hall; the new water treatment plant; and the Dunsmuir and Bevan Road upgrades.
We have made small but important shifts toward food sustainability by allowing farm-gate sales and permitting chicken and bee-keeping.
Looking ahead to a third term, I not only want to build on the long-term vision to make Cumberland a connected community with deep social and ecological values, but I believe we, as a small village, can provide some of the inspiration needed to address the challenges of our times.
For the past three years, I was elected chair of the Comox Valley Regional District, and this has given me insight into the importance of working regionally, provincially, and federally on the multiple crises we face. In the Comox Valley, this past term was unprecedented in terms of local government officials stepping up together to address social inequities, climate change, homelessness, and supporting non-profits and businesses as we went through COVID. This degree of resolve and collaboration should not be taken for granted, and is recognized outside our region.
In the next term, I hope that Cumberland and other Comox Valley local governments will continue to push for a low carbon future through active transportation investments and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. In prior election cycles in the Comox Valley, the balance of power lay with those who would prefer to see local government stay out of climate and social issues, and take a backseat on the profound shifts that are needed. I hope that residents of Cumberland and our region will continue to support local government officials who understand how municipalities can make a difference in partnership with provincial and federal governments; and who aren’t afraid to lead when leadership is needed. I look forward to connecting with many of you during the election period, and will be grateful for your support on Oct. 15.