Courtenay City Council candidate Brennan Day believes that with good planning, the Comox Valley can grow without without losing its charm or small town feel. He would improve infrastructure, housing affordability and promote greater City Council transparency and better communication
Brennan Day believes the silent majority is under-represented on the Courtenay City Council, but that’s not the only reason he’s running for office this year.
He wants to make housing more affordable, properly plan for population growth, ensure the city spends its money wisely, improve infrastructure and create more transparency in local government.
As a 25-year resident who was raised in the Comox Valley, Day understands the desire to maintain the small town characteristics that people love. He just doesn’t see that as mutually exclusive with what he regards as inevitable growth.
“We can’t pretend the Valley won’t continue to grow,” he said. “If we do, and bury our heads in the sand, we’ll get sprawl. But if we plan for growth, we can improve infrastructure so that the community still feels small.”
Day and his wife, a former Denman Island resident, and their one-year-old child moved back to the Valley in 2016, after spending the previous 10 years living and working in Kazakhstan. He worked as a manager for Arctic Group International, which specializes in services for Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry.
Day currently works for Hyland Precast in Cumberland.
FURTHER READING: Who is running for municipal office this year, go to our Elections 2018 page.
The Valley’s infrastructure lags behind neighboring communities like Campbell River, according to Day, because we’re not recognized as an urban center and split into smaller municipal populations.
“This should concern everyone, because we’re missing out on federal and provincial funding as a result,” he said. “We don’t get a proportional return on our taxes.”
Day isn’t promoting amalgamation, but he sees considerable savings in consolidating services such as fire departments and parks.
“I believe City Council has to be responsible with tax dollars,” he said. “We’re currently overspending for the services we get. Consolidating services could be a transitional step to lowering the tax burden.”
Describing himself as a moderate fiscal conservative, which he believes mirrors the majority of Courtenay residents, Day disagreed with the City Council’s recent decision to hire more employees, because the process was flawed.
“Their methodology was okay, acceptable,” he said. “But there was no attempt to look at spending accounts first.”
With a windfall surplus, he said City Council “seemed desperate to spend it rather than cut taxes.” Had council looked harder at expense accounts, Day says he might have approved the hirings.
The candidate points to the aging Fifth Street bridge as an example of the city’s failure to plan for infrastructure improvement.
“That bridge is about 30 years past its life cycle, and we’re going to have to replace it,” he said. “What are we going to do when it no longer passes safety inspections?”
Day believes a third crossing of the Courtenay River will eventually be needed, but says the city should work with the province to make improvements to the 17th Street bridge first.
While City Council has to consider all available options, he thinks a new bridge at 21st St. that would close the Courtenay Airpark should be the lowest priority.
And the city could avoid miscommunications with citizens like the Courtenay Airpark Association if the council was more transparent. He calls the council’s communication efforts “terrible.”
Day would advocate for more robust minutes that show how each council member voted in all decisions, not just those motions that fail.
“If elected, I would publicize a position piece on every vote I cast,” he said. “People should know why council members voted the way they did.”
And he would restrict in-camera sessions because they “don’t give the public confidence.”
Day would also support efforts to make housing more affordable in the city, including allowing carriage houses and suites without going through an amendment process, and other easy steps to densify the urban core.
“These things can get us to the goal quicker,” he said. “And they have a smaller impact than putting up high rise buildings.”
Day would also promote creating more industrial development land, which he says is in short supply.
“Industrial land is scattered around and about half of it is covered by mini-storage operations,” he said. “If it doesn’t exist, where are the new jobs going to go?”
Thanks for update on what your council ideas will follow. Zoning for low income housing is a must as the homeless are looking for reasonable rent for themselves and their children. Some are living in substandard undersized over priced rental units. The red tape, building code approvals and development costs now requested by the city before a project even gets off the ground is now bordering the impossibe in more and more cases. Relief is required……… maybe you think you could take this on. Wow power to you I hope you can fight the right fight cause that is what is needed.
Jobs at the Airpark, recently, were almost lost and possibly that may be the case if the volunteers are pushed to their limits keeping it up with the transparency of just what the Airpark provides. Of course at no cost to the City cause its all paid and maintained by volunteers. Its not just about pilots and airplanes its about economic impact and jobs and young people being trained as apprentices and mechanics and yes providing hotel and restaurant jobs from the visitors visiting the Estuary to see, the Birds and Planes the Airpark provides. Over 750 pilots trained to date as well as over 200 cadets have completed their training at the airpark and yes I am sure a few of the paramedics showing up with the over 50 landings and takeoffs from the Medivac using the Airpark so far this year may be learning some on the job training as well.
Maybe we could get some more volunteers and build a few tax exempt non profit developments for the less fortunate on some land provided by the City. Sounds like a Capitalist idea to help some young people afford to work at entry level jobs to get experience in the work force without breaking the Company they work for by paying for the training at high wage levels. Something like Habitat for Humanity maybe
Ya maybe that would be an experiment to organize and help a few people at the same time……. just an opinion but Brennan made us think about it…….Thanks Brennan
I truly believe that reducing restrictions to suites, carriage houses, and allowing for densification of the city core will have the greatest effect on housing affordability. Courtenay City Council is in the best position to remove the red-tape that is currently involved and bring more of the currently illegal suites up to code and encourage the construction of new units. This will ensure that rental units are safe for the tenants, while remaining affordable for the landlords to build. Win-win.