ELECTORAL AREA B: Candidates (most of them) answer our three questions
Decafnation asked this year’s candidates for public office to respond to three questions. We are publishing their responses by the jurisdictions in which they are a candidate.
Electoral Area B
One representative to be elected
Incumbent — Arezeena Hamir
Challengers — Richard Hardy, Keith Stevens
Candidate Richard Hardy did not respond.
1. In the event that a new dangerous variant of the COVID virus emerges or if a new pandemic arises would you use your position as a civic leader to support federal and provincial public health orders and encourage others to do likewise?
Absolutely. Local government needs to work hand-in-hand with Federal and Provincial Health Orders. Saying that, I do believe that we, as a community, need to support and protect the most vulnerable and we can only really do that collectively. No one should be left behind in a pandemic, especially not our seniors, our children, and immunocompromised. By ensuring that we are protecting them, I feel we protect the greater whole as well. This very much aligns with how I work in the community and how I feel the Comox Valley has grown: neighbours helping neighbours with local government supporting those who don’t have that help.
Yes. I believe that would be a public safety issue.
2. Do you support the Regional Growth Strategy as it’s currently written? In particular, do you support its theme to funnel new growth into already defined urban boundaries, leaving the rural areas as rural as possible. And, do you support not adding any settlement nodes until the Union Bay Estates and K’omoks First Nations developments in the Union Bay area are well underway?
I do support the part of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) that puts densification in specific areas to enable better services like transit in these areas while protecting the rural areas from development pressures. That’s why we love the Comox Valley – the beauty of our forests, our beaches, and our rivers where anyone can access these amenities and they are protected.
I do, however, question the idea of Settlement Nodes outside of what’s happening in Union Bay. I don’t feel that they have developed into complete communities the way that they were envisioned. This means more people driving into towns to get their groceries, their banking, their doctor’s appointments, etc, which leads to congestion on our roads. I look forward to opening up the RGS in 2023 and working with the community to figure out how to plan smarter for the 21st Century.
In regards to the Regional Growth Strategy, it needs a regular review and adjusted to the needs of the community. As a farmer at heart, I am all for protecting the rural areas for agriculture. However, I believe there has to be a provision for the land owner to be able to supplement his income by adding an in-law suite or a small rental home. This would help many farmers with the high input expenses. No, I do not support the “not adding more nodes”. I believe we need to control the growth by ensuring any addition includes affordable housing.
3. Do you believe it is the responsibility of local governments to take climate change-focused actions and to consider how to minimize carbon emissions from municipal operations and facilities in all of the council deliberations?
I think it’s incredibly irresponsible for anyone to come into local government without a deep understanding of how climate change is going to impact our buildings, our neighbourhoods and our community as a whole. As Electoral Area B Director, I have supported and encouraged our Board and our staff to use climate impacts as a lens on every decision we’ve had to make.
In some instances, it’s been incredibly easy – using the waste heat from our ice surfaces to heat the swimming pool at the Sports Center. Makes fantastic sense and saves tax dollars in the long run. In other instances, it’s been very difficult to encourage change at a time when residents in the valley have had to suffer through so much through COVID.
Moving forward, I’m energized with ideas of how to engage our youth to help us in our climate work, providing dignified, paid employment to support building retrofits, reforestation, stream-keeping work and more. Climate change is undeniable. We’ve lived through heat domes, atmospheric rivers, epic cold, and forest fire smoke – all attributed to the heating of our planet. We can and will do more and our community will benefit from our mitigation and adaptation work.
I believe that climate change and carbon emission are important issues, however, I feel there are more pressing issues that are facing local governments at the moment. These issues are in our control and can be corrected in the short term.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE
General Voting Day is Saturday, Oct. 15 for all local government positions.
Comox Valley Regional District
General Voting Day and advance voting 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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