2022 Civic Election Environmental Forums

Local Elections

On October 15th, voters across BC will elect new Local Government Councils and Boards to govern for the next four years. Crucial, time-sensitive decisions about how our communities will face the biodiversity and climate crises will be made by this 2022-2026 local government cohort.

Engaging Candidates

Since 2011, the SCCA has provided all candidates engagement opportunities for Sunshine Coast Voters to hear from candidates on environmental issues. This year, we are partnering with Alliance 4 Democracy and the Sunshine Coast Climate Action Network to engage the candidates with written Q&A and virtual all candidates meetings (by Zoom).

We strongly encourage all citizens to engage in the electoral process, to learn where your candidates stand on the critical issues facing our community, future generations and all life on earth.

Videos of
All Candidates Meetings

The SCCA hosted three virtual All Candidates meetings by Zoom. Recordings are now available for viewing on YouTube using the buttons below.

Written Q&A

On September 17th, we sent all candidates five written questions and asked them to submit written responses to us by no later that October 1st. The questions and their answers are posted below.

Voting Information

Read one of our recent SCCA news item for key election dates and other information on how to vote.

Background to Questions


As we are now acutely aware, global climate change is the greatest environmental challenge ever to confront human societies. We know the list: drought, fire, severe storms, record high temperatures, famine, warming oceans, sea level rise. These are increasingly impacting communities around the world.

BC has recently been devastated by several extreme climate events: heat, fires and floods, which caused hundreds of deaths and damaged billions of dollars of natural and built infrastructure.

Simultaneously, the entire planet is undergoing a silent biodiversity crisis called the 6th Mass Extinction. Species extinction rates are estimated at 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural rate.

Unlike previous extinction events caused by natural phenomena, the sixth extinction is driven by human activities such as unsustainable use of land, water and energy, and by human-caused climate change, which decreases biodiversity and makes ecosystems ever more vulnerable to disturbance and less able to provide the invaluable ecosystem services humans need to survive (clean air, water, fertile soil, etc.).

There are many actions local governments in BC can take to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. In a very real sense, it falls to elected officials to lead the way to protect natural systems and the benefits they provide – to our communities and to global health as a whole.

 All of the questions we are posing to candidates are within the jurisdiction of the local government they hope to represent.

Questions for Candidates

Question 1: Watershed Protection and Sustainable Drinking Water Supply

The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and Town of Gibsons supply drinking water to over 30,000 residents on the Sunshine Coast. The primary water sources for most residents are the Chapman and Gray Creek Watersheds. Secondary water sources include the groundwater sources, Elphinstone-Gibsons-Soames and Hopkins-Langdale Aquifers (a.k.a. West Howe Sound Watershed).

Like most rural areas in BC, the Sunshine Coast faces ongoing and increasing resource extraction pressures in our drinking watersheds, mainly from logging. Local and First Nations governments have little to no control over industrial activities and their impacts on source area ecosystems. For example, BC Timber Sales is proposing large clear cuts in the West Howe Sound Watershed and the Sunshine Coast Community Forest still has logging tenure in the Chapman and Grey Creek Watersheds.

The BC government has a suite of legislative and policy tools to protect drinking water, and provincial government ministries have overlapping watershed protection, stewardship and reconciliation mandates. And, the new BC Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship (LWRS) is tasked with developing new strategies - in partnership with First Nations and federal and local governments – to better protect watersheds, wildlife, wild salmon, species at risk, and biodiversity.

Each local government on the Coast has different and overlapping opportunities to advance water supply and source area conservation.

Question for SCRD Candidates

If elected, how will you support the SCRD to achieve the following goals?

  • assess and develop new options to expand and diversify water supply sources;
  • reduce water use through regulations and policies, technologies, incentives and subsidies, community outreach and education;
  • maintain and update water infrastructure; and
  • protect water quality and quantity in source areas (lakes, streams, aquifers) from impacts of upstream development and industrial activity.

Question for District of Sechelt Candidates

As the sole shareholder of the Sunshine Coast Community Forest  (SCCF), what will you do to ensure the SCCF transitions to a sustainable forest management model, stewards ecological values and protects the Chapman and Grey Creek Watersheds?

Question for Town of Gibsons Candidates

If elected, how will you support the Town to diligently protect Gibsons Aquifer and the West Howe Sound Watershed Aquifer Recharge Areas from risks?

Sunshine Coast Regional District

Question 2: Engage with the “Climate Caucus”

Elected officials need support to lead well on climate change issues. 'Climate Caucus' is a nonpartisan network of local elected officials and 1000+ allies across Canada. Its mission is to “create and implement socially-just policies which align with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).”


If elected, will you commit to engaging with the Climate Caucus and ensuring that all Council and/or Board decisions are considered through the lens of mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity and sustainably managing ‘natural assets’?

Sunshine Coast Regional District

Question 3: Improve Environmental Regulation through Environmental DPAs

Scientific and economic studies repeatedly show that preserving natural ecosystems creates more benefits for local governments and communities than developing and/or replacing them with engineered infrastructure.

The 2019 UN Climate Action Summit brought great political attention to the power of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for climate and sustainable development. It makes economic, social, and environmental sense for local governments to preserve Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) and “natural assets” for their 'ecosystem services'.

Environmental Development Permit Areas (EDPAs) are one of few legal tools local governments have to mitigate impacts of private land development. EDPAs are clearly identified areas within which development and land alteration must be regulated in order to protect natural assets and Environmentally Sensitive Areas. However, if DPA guidelines are not clear and supported with permitting policy and bylaws, they may become cumbersome or ineffective.


As an elected official will you agree to the following commitments?

  • Improving your awareness of EDPAs and how they may be used to support environmental protection;
  • Supporting the creation, use, and improvement of EDPAs, including bylaws and policies to protect ecological and natural asset values in your community and throughout the Sunshine Coast.
Sunshine Coast Regional District

Question 4: Sue Big Oil for costs of Climate Impacts on Infrastructure

For decades, oil and gas corporations have known that burning fossil fuels would cause the heat waves, wildfires, drought and flooding that we’re now experiencing in BC. These multinational companies spent millions to deceive, deny and distract us on their way to billions in profit — specifically, 3 billion dollars per day for 50 years — by preventing action on climate change.

In 2018, the District of Sechelt, along with the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, voted to join 13 other communities around BC and send Climate Accountability letters to the Big Oil companies.

Now, West Coast Environmental Law is spearheading a Sue Big Oil campaign to force oil and gas corporations to change their business practices and pay their fair share for the harm they’re causing. The City of Vancouver has already signed on.


Will you commit to protecting taxpayers by seeking to recover a fair share of climate costs from the fossil fuel companies who profit from selling products that cause climate change? Specifically, if elected, would you ask your Council to do the following:

  • take urgent action to reduce our fossil fuel use and protect us from future heat waves, wildfires, flooding and other climate impacts;
  • set aside at least $1 per person towards a community fund to sue Big Oil;
  • join with other local governments to file a class action lawsuit to recover a fair share of our climate costs;
  • work to build equitable, sustainable systems for transportation, housing and food that put people and the planet before corporate profits; and
  • cooperate with Indigenous peoples in doing so.
Sunshine Coast Regional District

Question 5: Adapting to and Mitigating Climate Induced Flooding

As the climate changes, we are seeing increasing average annual rainfall and experiencing more frequent intense rainfall events and more rapid snowmelt. Meanwhile, average summer rainfall is decreasing.

Extreme precipitation events are happening more often, resulting in increased runoff across a dry landscape. Water isn’t absorbed into the soils, riparian areas and aquifers. These conditions create major challenges with runoff and erosion management, increase flood risk and decrease source area recharge.

Estimated costs of “rebuilding” after the tragic BC atmospheric river floods (2021) are in the billions of dollars. And, this doesn't account for long term impacts on fish, as the flooding occurred when the salmon were coming home to spawn.


If elected, how will you work with your Council/Board to adapt to these extreme and changing conditions, mitigate impacts on communities, infrastructure and fish habitat?

Sunshine Coast Regional District
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