2011 Civic Election – Question 2 Responses

Darren Inkster
Candidate for Mayor of Sechelt

The Envision document is a coast wide document that recognizes that we all share one large biodiverse ecosystem on the Sunshine coast and we must collaborate to preserve and enhance our ecosystem. It needs to be implemented in conjunction with the Sechelt sustainability plan. We need to show leadership at the regional level by identifying local environmental problems and working together to enforce rules and bylaws that protect this land we all share. As director, I will be encouraging collaboration amongst coast residents in order to regionally move towards a coast wide ecosystem that is truly respected and safe from irreparable harm. My 2 children will insist on this...

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Hans Penner
Candidate for Area D Director

I am aware of the discussion about sustainability “We Envision One Coast”. This discussion has not changed my understanding of what sustainable is.  My understanding of sustainable is providing for the present without compromising the environment we leave for future generations. I find the “We Envision…” document very general in nature with few concrete recommendations.  I know that clearcut logging with most of the logs leaving the coast unprocessed is not sustainable environmentally or economically. We have to reduce the carbon footprint of Public facilities such as the Gibsons Recreation Centre by installing, retrofitting if necessary, energy efficient integrated geothermal heating and cooling systems. At the regional level, reducing solid waste and protecting the remaining intact forests is the most productive action we can take to respond to climate change.

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Lorne Lewis
Candidate for Area E Director

We have taken definite steps to analyzing our carbon footprint at the SCRD. We’ve initiated the CEEP program, we hired a community education and outreach coordinator and a sustainability manager in efforts to improve our carbon footprint and engage the public in attempts to reduce our overall (community) carbon footprint. I have, and will continue to, support these endeavours. As well I look for ways to reduce my own impact on the environment.

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Laura Wallace
Candidate for Area E Director

"We Envision..." has not changed my view on what sustainability means. I find that the document is vague and lacking in specific concrete action plans. It maintains a focus on growing the economy while attempting to achieve sustainability, oppositional goals, in my view. We cannot shop our way to sustainability, and creating "green" jobs is not going to help the situation. I do appreciate the goals in terms of creating more bike and walking trails, creating more affordable housing options, and preserving our biodiversity while increasing our output of locally produced food. I would like to see different options discussed, particularly in regards to affordable housing. There is a high rate of absentee property owners on the coast, instead of building yet more houses, why not encourage those absentee landlords to rent out their houses at affordable rates, in exchange for lower property taxes? As Director, I would certainly encourage a variety of ways to promote sustainability that rely on more than just throwing money at the problem.

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Barry Janyk
Candidate for Gibsons Mayor

While I don’t believe the Vision document has radically altered my sense of understanding of the terminology connected to it, it has heightened my sense of awareness of the necessity to include all parties as we try and advance a very progressive philosophy.  I believe that if this template is truly going to be a useful mechanism – a touchstone to reflect upon as we continue to grow – then it is incumbent on the authors and sponsors to ensure it is amenable.  This consensus of course could come at a cost.  It would be unfortunate to see it stripped of proper advice, wordsmithed and hollowed out to be nothing more than “nice words on paper”.  I want to ensure that the document remains relevant and workable in my role on the regional scene next term.

Obviously climate change is upon us.  Its potential to affect coastal communities like Gibsons may be really serious.  That’s why I have managed to convince a multi year/multiple university team – including U.B.C. - to use Gibsons as one of eight international study communities where researchers will study the phenomena and recommend real adaptation and mitigation strategies by 2014.

An article published in the September 2011 issue of Scientific American pointed out that local governments are in fact the level of government most affected — and best equipped — to address climate change.  Have a read.

In Gibsons, we’re doing our part to leave a legacy of understanding and hope for the next generations – including my own youngest son who is 3.

If you are interested in more information, read the article on page 7 in October 27th issue of The Local on the C-Change Initiative by Nathan Vadeboncoeur, the international effort I helped establish for the good of us all.

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Donna Shugar
Candidate for Area D Director

Rather than changing my understanding of the meaning of the word “sustainable,” the “We Envision” document has reinforced my faith in the interconnection of all things, my conviction that we must balance the needs of the environment, the economy, and human social and cultural requirements and my belief that limitless growth on a finite planet is not an option. The principle of sustainability means that our actions today will not compromise our descendents’ future. We will create a future that is as good for our children’s children as it has been for us.

It is important that these principles become embedded in the actions and decisions that are made by local government on an ongoing basis. The development of strategic plans as well as responses to crises and day to day demands must use the principles of sustainability as their foundation.

It is just as crucial for us in our semi-rural environment to address climate change issues as it is in urban centres. But the types of actions we have available and their degree of impact will be different. The rural nature of our electoral areas makes transit more difficult and expensive, creates challenges for energy efficient infrastructure, and makes the shift to denser, more walkable communities much slower. But there are some opportunities that are not available in more urbanized areas. We have the opportunity to capitalize on our unique natural environment by ensuring that new developments infill the denser community nodes instead of taking up new undeveloped areas. We can ensure that our forests remain as carbon sinks. We can enhance local food production. We can ensure that our response to sea level rise does not create increased damage to our shoreline ecosystems. We can work together as a region on making the Sunshine Coast a “zero waste community.”

It is important that all the local governments on the Coast band together in a shared commitment to adhere to the principles and actions of the “We Envision” document. I am committed to fostering a culture of collaborative leadership and consensus building amongst local governments, local businesses, community groups and the public. The Climate Change issue is the most urgent crisis we all face. It is only by working together that we will find solutions we can all embrace.

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Lee Ann Johnson
Candidate for Gibsons Council

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about and attending workshops on climate change. It’s great that the “We Envision” work is focussed on positive action we can take to adapt locally to changes we can already see in our climate. It uses a carrot like enticement approach rather than legalistic stick to whack in needed behaviour changes.

I fully support these areas of work for local government:

  • Local food production – a local organic food grower farms my back yard in trade for food
  • Improve bus service, safe walking & cycling lanes - use cars less
  • Compact communities allow people to walk or bike to services but also mean that people will see their neighbours. The rural values of living “away” from other people are in conflict with the need to live close to each other in order to use cars less. This is less a problem in Gibsons as it is already a small town with many multiple family homes and small lots close to services. Our OCP encourages gradually increasing density through secondary suites and infill, innovative tiny lots and clustered housing in energy efficient new neighbourhoods.
  • Gibsons has a geo-exchange heating utility which can expand to meet future needs and could be heating the arena, schools and other buildings in the future.
  • Affordable, energy efficient housing – new houses must work for at least 60 years, existing houses need energy retrofits
  • Strengthening human relationships through events and creative activities that celebrate our special place while reducing our environmental footprint

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Doug Smith
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor

I had a reasonable understanding of what sustainability represented prior to reading this report. I was impressed with the manner in which this report approached the issues and the current thinking incorporated into it. Every salient topic was included and the local environment and sustainable success stories were seamlessly interwoven.

The document outlines our needs and requirements if we are to reach sustainable goals by 2020. It provides comprehensive data and strategies. However, the document needs incremental tactics and objectives in order to reach our lofty goals. We must act now before human kind passes its tipping point into oblivion.

I would create a, (BCG) partnership with business, community and government (including first Nations) leaders to establish a coalition of environmental stewards and tirelessly promote a sustainable Coast.

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Mike Carson
Candidate for Area A Director

Progressive, sustainable development is at the heart of my vision for Pender Harbour/ Egmont. Balancing both sides of the sustainable development debate requires an understanding of our historical values and how they play a role in steering development. In Area A, we have a strong Maritime component due to our many miles of protected coastline and we are faced with different sustainability issues.  Development and overcrowding of our foreshore areas threatens fish and shellfish habitats, and puts us at odds with the ecology of the area. Sustainable development should be our touchstone of political direction on the Sunshine Coast and particularly Area A, Pender Harbour, Egmont.

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Frank Mauro
Candidate for Area A Director

The We Envision document has not changed my understanding of what is sustainable  It is a broad stroke outline of criteria we must consider in all decisions we make which have the potential to affect our environment. I would ensure that the long term effect of all decisions be thoroughly evaluated, especially if the goals stated in the document are to be met.

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John Henderson
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor

The “We Envision One Coast” document has not changed my definition of the word sustainable but it has broadened it.  As the document states, it is a “starting point for refinement and further discussion”.  It is general in its approach but it sets the stage for specific decisions and targets.

We’re all in this together and I believe that everyone at heart is committed to protecting the environment and learning how to be more sustainable, including businesses and corporations.   After all, businesses – especially on the Coast, are typically groups of individuals – our neighbours – who share a passion for our Sunshine Coast lifestyle.

We need a balanced dialogue that includes qualified professionals providing the science and data that we must have in order to make informed decisions.

Documents such as We Envision set a path, much as an OCP does, for our future.  I think it is important for the Mayor and Council to listen to what all of the community has to say and respond to more than solely climate change issues.  We need to evaluate and act proactively so that we are prepared in terms of water safety, secure food, adequate shelter and green technology.

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Gary Nohr
Candidate for Area B Director

My views changed on sustainability with the SCRD signing on to the Climate Action Charter. This alone made me re-examine any decision to build or renovate assets of the Regional District without looking at a possible reducing of the footprint and the reduction of emissions. Recently I went with a constituent to meet with three high-ranking members of the transportation ministry to discuss possible reduction of light pollution with policies that called for new subdivisions to have full cut-off lighting and for the ministry to work towards eradicating any highway lighting that causes light trespass.

I am pleased to be able to say the Sunshine Coast is one step closer to having an integrated community-wide action plan for a healthy and sustainable future. We Envision is a recently drafted discussion paper with the elements of a sustainability plan for the region between Earls Cove and Port Mellon.  The draft was created by a team of individuals from community organizations and local governments, as well as (volunteer) independent experts from the energy and social planning fields.

A sustainability plan is a written record of the community’s intent for the future that includes their core values, a vision, and a set of goals and actions that we should all strive for.
Working towards sustainability means recognizing the interconnectedness of all things; it means taking thoughtful, innovative steps today to ensure that people and ecosystems flourish into the future. It’s the ability to meet the community’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

We Envision takes a look at 13 interconnected strategic directions that require our community’s focus. They  are: Land Use; Water Stewardship; Food Security; Affordable Housing; Employment; Addressing Poverty; Community Health and Social Services; Arts and Culture; Learning and Leading; Natural Spaces, Parks, Recreation; Transportation; Climate and Energy; and Zero Waste. Many people feel this is too general; therefore, the next step must be to design an action plan.
The vision plan needs to be expressed in a pragmatic strategy paper that would include a clear chronology and prioritized listing of what we can do immediately with little cost and what could be done now if the taxpayers were willing to fund the initiatives.  The priorities could be stated in terms of five-year increments, with all costs starting from what could be done immediately.

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Roger Legasse
Candidate for Area B Director

I am very proud of the work of the people who created this inspiring discussion paper.  I pledge to honour the 5 commitments, specifically:

  • designing low-environmental-impact communities based on energy-efficient transportation and settlement patterns;
  • ensuring high-quality drinking water and the availability of locally grown and produced food;
  • providing affordable-housing options, green jobs and regional economic development
  • developing a comprehensive range of cultural, community and social services that protects our indigenous and cultural heritage and facilitates life-long learning; and
  • celebrating the urban-wild dynamic, unique to our region, and showing respect for our natural environment by reducing waste and designing resilience against the impacts of climate change.

As SCRD Director for Area B (Halfmoon Bay, including Sechelt, Narrows and Salmon Inlets) I would pour all of my creative energy into these commitments and facilitate the participation of every citizen of my area.  Each person has an important role to play and our success will require the active involvement of everyone.

The restoration of the Clowhom salmon run is a project which is worthy of our support. Quinn Barabash is a young man from Halfmoon Bay who swam through the Skookumchuck and all the way to Porpoise Bay last summer to help spearhead this project. The Clowhom salmon run, reputed to be one of the most prolific in BC, was destroyed by the construction of a major Hydro Dam in the 1950’s.  No spawning channels were designed in at the time.  Let’s all support Quinn in this effort to restore this run which can help us achieve the commitment of local food self-sustainability. Let’s acknowledge the courage and energy of Quinn and his support team.

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