For the next few weeks on Off The Page, we are doing something a little bit different from our usual format. With the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 15, we wanted to take a look at what you – our listeners and readers of the Comox Valley Record – have to say, particularly on what you care about in this election.
What is important to you? Are you planning on voting? Why or why not?
With the goal of finding out these answers, we’ve gathered different groups of people together to ask what’s on their minds as they prepare to cast their votes.
In this episode, we’re talking with two business leaders – Robert Mulrooney of Mindset Wealth and Tracey Clarke, executive director of the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association.
Q: What are some concerns that you have from your perspective that you’re looking forward to being addressed within the next four years?
Mulrooney: My staff was dealing with an issue of homelessness. We’re on Riverside and 19th, and we’ve dealt with lots of construction on either side of us for the last few years. When I’m hearing from my female team members that they don’t feel safe at work … And I was like, ‘This is a major issue.’ And I’m hearing that from other business owners as well.
Q: (One issue while) talking about the election is over-government; are there too many councils? That talk of amalgamation came up more than 10 years ago. Is that something from a business perspective to be reconsidered?
Mulrooney: We’re going to go through some very interesting times, very difficult times I think with rising interest rates, higher commodity prices, higher energy prices and issues with the climate. One valley, one vision is extremely important, not necessarily amalgamation, (but) just do we need as many politicians as we have in the Comox Valley with 70,000 people? We have more politicians than the metropolitan of Toronto.
Q: What are some of the concerns of the BIA looking ahead to this election and what’s your take on what could be achieved within those next four years?
Clarke: Our main focus is infrastructure, safety, security, marketing, and community engagement. But it is getting more challenging to ensure our desired outcomes. And this is due to community wellness and street disorder, and the ripple effects of this, as well as the labour shortage, which is tied to housing. We have seen some drastic changes in those areas.
We do appreciate the work that Courtenay council has been doing to support us. We are grateful for the work that has been done. They are paying attention and there have been some concerted efforts made, and we need to make sure that those don’t lag and fall off.
Q: As a representative of the business community, how important is this election?
Clarke: This election is really important to our business members, and we encourage people to get out and vote. Interestingly, if you’re not a resident of Courtenay, but you are a property owner in downtown Courtenay, you can register to vote in the city election.
For the rest of the interview, listen above or search for Off The Page wherever you download podcasts.