Wendy Morin: Voters can trust she’ll deliver on promises like housing diversity, urban agriculture, the new OCP
Wendy Morin, a lifelong resident of the Comox Valley, is seeking a second term on the Courtenay City Council.
Morin is the co-creator of the Comox Valley Girls Group, which has provided training for girls and young women about how to deal with societal pressures and learn skills for healthy living. She is on a Leave Of Absence from her youth and family substance use counselor position at the John Howard Society.
She was a founding resident of the Tin Town live-work neighborhood and she is an active supporter of the arts community and environmental conservation.
Why should voters re-elect you?
Before running for the first time in 2018, Morin wondered if she had tough enough skin for public office.
“But I’ve found most of the negativity comes on social media,” She told Decafnation. “The people that have phoned or emailed me directly, seem to have legitimate issues and I do my best to respond. .”
Looking back at her campaign promises, Morin says she has delivered on all of them, if not always quite 100 percent.
“But I think people now trust me to do the things I’ve promised,” she said. “I don’t think any voter would be surprised by what I’ve done during my first four years in office. I think I deserve another term because I’m accountable.”
Morin says she reads all the reports and many of them are long, 1,000 pages and more. She goes to the optional staff briefings and she has taken advantage of all the opportunities there are to become a knowledgeable council member.
Although Courtenay Council members have not had a raise in compensation for eight years, Morin voted not to raise their pay during the current term. She did vote to raise compensation in the next term but also to examine different ways to have people of diverse ages and incomes serve on the council, such as child care support
“I have advocated for broader representation on council and we can’t have that without appropriate pay. Otherwise, we shut out people with lower incomes, for example, and create an obstacle for people of diverse backgrounds,” she said.
What are some of your key accomplishments?
Morin feels that she has brought into the decision-making space the voices of citizens who haven’t had a voice before: those people who haven’t traditionally held power.
“I’ve also brought a different style that’s collaborative rather than combative,” she said.
Morin was the leading advocate for the council’s anti-racism policy that provides training for councillors and staff and, she hopes, to the larger community.
“We have a changing population that’s more diverse now so we must deal with those, for example, who yell slurs at cricket players in Lewis Park,” she said.
Morin helped pass a new bylaw that allows more urban agriculture.
“It’s more than about hens; it speaks to bigger issues like income inequality, food security, our changing demographic and climate change,” she said.
Goals for the next four years
The first goal for her second term will be the implementation of the recently updated Official Community Plan. The OCP is a publicly created vision for the future of the city and now council members and staff have to create or revise policies to align with it.
Morin believes the OCP opens up opportunities for greater housing diversity and more ways for developers to contribute below-market units or to the affordable housing reserve. And it provides incentives for developers to do so.
“Some developers have pushed back, but more understand where the city is headed and already come to us with plans for bike storage, food gardens, EV chargers and so on,” she said. “None of these are radical ideas. Other towns and cities everywhere are implementing similar policies.”
Morin plans to focus more on transportation and regional connectivity in the next four years. She envisions rebates for eBikes to make them accessible to all kinds of people, including low-income people to improve equity.
She would also finish revamping our regional approach to economic development.
“We’re shifting away from an outdated model. The old school idea was to reach out to heavy industry, but that’s not what we want. We want lighter industries, greener ones. We want to include arts and culture into the economic development focus and the council has increased funding to arts groups,” she said.
And Morin would continue her work on social planning within the city, a carryover from my goals in 2018.
“We – the council – have integrated social planning into more and more decisions, but I still would like to see a Social Planner position at city hall,” she said.
Morin likes what Powell River has done in hiring a person who coordinates the efforts of nonprofits working on a variety of issues and advances social issues by bringing them into discussions on our infrastructure plans.
The most misunderstood thing about the CVRD
Morin says she is grateful for informed people because some of those upset with council or the regional district “misunderstand our role and mandate and the resources available to us.”
“Some have misunderstood our motives,” she says. “I’ve been involved in this community for 50 years and I just want the best community possible. I want to help people have a voice. There’s no agenda beyond that.”
Morin recognizes that there are some people in the Valley who want to expand the city boundaries, get rid of the recently publicly formed OCP and who are opposed to cycling lanes.
“There is a lot of anger expressed by those opposed to these ideas. It’s time to get rid of the combative style of politics and to be more collaborative and respectful. Many women and people of colour are leaving leadership positions because of this and we all lose when that happens,” she said.
“It’s different being an incumbent, defending a record,” she said. “ But I think we have made our citizens’ lives better. We’re trying not to leave anybody out because a council is responsible for every person who lives here.”
Morin is surprised that some people think this council’s accomplishments are radical ideas. She says rehabilitating the Fifth Street Bridge added 50 years to its life. Council has tackled projects that have languished on the city’s shelves for years, like the bridge and creating a pedestrian path on Lake Trail.
“Most of these actions and decisions are middle of the road. Grandparents are riding eBikes now and more people every year are adding food gardens,” she said.
Morin says she is committed to the Comox Valley. She has no aspirations for higher office and no plans to spend extended time living outside of the community. She believes that everyone running for council needs to be all in or it’s a disservice to the public.
“Some people who run for office see only weekly meetings. But there are requirements to do a good job that aren’t mandatory, yet essential for proper representation and decision-making. Tours, meeting people on the frontlines, staff briefings, meeting constituents, and being prepared by having done all the reading before meetings.
“This isn’t a volunteer position where a person can only be engaged when they want to. It’s a commitment.”
This article was updated Monday afternoon.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE
General Voting Day is Saturday, Oct. 15 for all local government positions.
Comox Valley Regional District
General Voting Day (Saturday, Oct. 15) and advance voting (Wednesday Oct. 5 and Wednesday Oct. 12) take place at the CVRD building in Courtenay from 8 am to 8 pm.
Go to this link for General Voting Day locations in the three Electoral Areas.
Additional voting takes place on Oct. 6 from 9 am to 12 pm on Denman Island and on Oct. 6 from 2 pm to 5 pm on Hornby Island
Advance Voting begins on Wednesday October 5, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Native Sons Hall, and again on Wednesday October 12, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Florence Filberg Centre.
General Voting Day, Saturday, October 15, 2022, 8 am to 8 pm at the Queneesh Elementary School, and at the Florence Filberg Centre.
Advance voting begins Wednesday, October 5 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre, and on Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Genoa Sail Building at Comox Marina, and again on Monday, October 10 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Genoa Sail Building at Comox Marina, and on Wednesday, October 12 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Comox Community Centre.
General Voting Day runs from 8 am to 8 pm on Oct. 15 at the Comox Community Centre.
All voting in the Village of Cumberland takes place from 8 am to 8 pm at the Cumberland Cultural Centre. Advance voting takes place on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.
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It was weird. But when the sun rose on Oct. 16, Comox Valley voters had made it clear they liked the direction charted by our local governments. In the municipalities, they elected all but two incumbents. In most races, the vote was a definite pat on the back for a job well done.
Mayor Bob Wells and all Courtenay incumbent councillors have been re-elected. Evan Jolicoeur has also been elected. Manno Theos has lost his seat.
Jonathan Kerr, Jenn Meilleur, Steve Blacklock, Chris Haslett, Ken Grant and Maureen Swift have been elected in Comox.
Vickey Brown has been elected mayor in Cumberland, defeating long-time mayor and councillor Leslie Baird.
Voting down -20.6% in Courtenay, -22.3% in Comox and -50.9% in Cumberland.
Full results with Electoral Areas A, B and C, school board and Islands Trust results in the morning.
Daniel Arbour in Area A and Edwin Grieve in Area C won by wide margins. Richard Hardy defeated Arzeena Hamir by 23 votes.
Shannon Aldinger topped the polls in races for SD71 school trustees.
Click the headline on this page for complete results and voter turnout.
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