My priorities

We need affordable housing for all. I want young people to imagine their futures here, businesses to be able to recruit workers, and people who are struggling to avoid homelessness.

We need economic development. We can grow our tax base so homeowners and small businesses don’t shoulder a disproportionate burden, and partner with Tla’amin Nation in respectful and beneficial ways. 

We need different public engagement. I want conversations that attract a range of voices, including young people, and families.

As one of your councillors, I will make decisions that:

  • Are evidence-based, reasonable, and compassionate
  • Are forward thinking – that take future generations into consideration
  • Acknowledge the difficult financial times many people are in  
  • Are based in good relationship with Tla’amin Nation

Housing affordability and availability

We need to move all the levers we can to ensure all Powell River residents have a home that is affordable and appropriate to their needs. There is no one solution. The City’s recently approved Housing Implementation Plan lays out a number of strategies to take, including incentivizing and fast-tracking new housing starts that include purpose-built rentals, non-profit and co-op housing, and affordable options for first time home-buyers, and using City land to build new housing–I agree with all of these.

The plan also recommends a possible Municipal Housing Authority, where the city is more involved with building and/or managing housing. There are different approaches to housing authorities (e.g. Whistler and Squamish have taken slightly different approaches) and I think we need to find what our sweet spot is. 

I would like to ask staff to explore vacancy or speculation taxes in Powell River for those who don’t have their primary residence here. The effects in other municipalities has been to increase the number of rentals and/or increase revenues and help offset property taxes.

The Official Community Plan will be updated starting in 2023, and this process will involve envisioning where and how different types of housing make sense (so that we don’t have to approve individual projects as they come up). Residents will have the opportunity to provide input and ideas to what our future could look like.

We need housing for people in poverty, and also for people making average incomes. We need housing for families and for individuals. For people with mobility issues, for people with pets. That is suitable for seniors, and for children. We need housing that allows our youth to imagine their futures here.

Economic development

The future of the mill site is crucial to local jobs, our industrial tax base, the vibrancy of Townsite, and relations with Tla’amin Nation. Tla’amin Nation recently submitted a Letter of Interest to Paper Excellence, a first step in putting in an offer to purchase the mill site (in partnership with a possible green energy initiative). The idea of local investment is exciting, as Tla’amin Nation has a vested interest in the economic and environmental health of the area for now and future generations. 

An industrial tax base is crucial to keep taxes reasonable for homeowners and small business. A truly green energy industrial operation at the future of the mill site is promising, and also our work on the Official Community Plan might expand our vision of what is possible for the area around the mill site. Housing? Hotels? Vibrant commercial space? I’d like to explore an Industry/Economic Development Council to explore how to balance attracting industry that increases our industrial tax base with a desire for livable and vibrant neighbourhoods.

Tourism is a growing source of income for our town, but I don’t want us to become a gimmicky tourist town. The reasons that tourists come here–nature, recreation, arts and festivals, a feeling of remoteness, friendly people, great small businesses–are the reasons that many of us love living here too. If we focus generally on community well-being, residents and tourists will both benefit.

Finally, we can’t attract the businesses we want here, and existing local businesses can’t grow, unless they can attract and keep workers. We don’t have the affordable rental housing and home ownership to make that happen. Housing is an important part of our economic development–construction creates jobs, but also we need housing for workers.

Public engagement that attracts a range of voices

I have been intimately involved on both sides of public engagement—as a participant, and as a facilitator. I know we can do better.

As a member of Council’s Community Finance Advisory Committee, I resigned due to the design and facilitation of the committee (half the committee resigned). As a professional facilitator–someone who designs activities and processes to get the best ideas and decisions out of groups of people–I look forward to supporting public involvement that is positive, deliberative, and that attracts a variety of residents.

As a facilitator in the possible name change process, I saw how residents were used to specific and limited ways to access decision-making power (e.g. delegations to council) and were frustrated by the divisive and intimidating nature of that setup.  

Based on my experience I also see that we are missing some important voices from current public engagement – parents of young children, workers, young people, people with lower household income. These people don’t often have the time or money to be able to participate in public engagement, and their voices are crucial for designing a city that we all can thrive in today and in the future.

I want to redesign council meetings so that public input and questions happen in an order and format that is better for the public and for council decision-making. I want to create informal opportunities for city residents, property owners, and business owners to ask council members questions and be in discussion about City issues outside of formal Council meetings. I want to design public engagement with young people, working families, and low income households in mind.

Good relationship with Tla’amin Nation 

The City has a long history of working in collaboration with Tla’amin Nation, but that relationship can’t be taken for granted and requires ongoing effort and communication, and an affirmation of the Community Accord and related protocols. 

Having a good relationship with Tla’amin people is an opportunity for us all to thrive, as Tla’amin Nation is a large economic force in our region and the original people of this land. If and when Tla’amin Nation is successful in becoming an investor in the future of the mill site, it will benefit us both to be in good relations. 

The name change process this spring was difficult for many of us, and it revealed different perspectives among city residents, Tla’amin Nation, and City. I support continuing the name change conversation based on the 11 recommendations of the Joint Working Group, and working with the Nation and city residents to explore possible names in order to reduce uncertainty about pronunciation, etc. in a possible future name.

Others topics

Email me at [email protected] if you have a specific question and I will add additional Q&As here as time allows.

Name change / referendum

I support the 11 recommendations of the Joint Working Group, which references an opinion poll as a possible tool, but only after the first 10 recommendations have been addressed in good faith. I learned a lot through the process earlier this year about City and Nation history, and I personally support a name change. I’d like to work with Tla’amin Nation and city residents to explore possible names to reduce some of the fear and uncertainty, and increase feelings of connection and shared values.

Fire hall borrowing referendum question

I will be voting yes. The referendum is a way for the City to 1) demonstrate to other levels of government that there is community support for a new emergency services building, and therefore unlock grant funding from them and 2) allow us to borrow over 20 years rather than, say, 5.  I do not agree that the proposed plan that came out last year is what we need (too fancy), but I do agree that we need a new building, and there will never be a good time to fund it. The referendum is to borrow up to 7.5 million, but with grant funding we shouldn’t need that. 

In understand why some people will be voting no, especially those that think that this vote is for the specific design that was shared earlier (but that has been scrapped).

Property taxes

I don’t believe there are any obvious services cuts to keep tax increases low (e.g. at 2% or less). The city is experiencing increased costs (especially now with inflation on materials) like we all are. Depending on the team that gets elected to council, we might more easily agree on places to cut, but it’ll be hard.

I’m a homeowner and taxpayer and feel tax increases, but I can’t commit to a percentage to hold taxes to– it would be disingenuous for me to try and I don’t pander. When the current tax cut for Paper Excellence runs out, I would not renew it (I can’t imagine anyone would so I don’t think my opinion is special in that regard).

I don’t think we can nickel and dime our way to lower taxes. One area I do think it’s worth looking at is the biggest parts of our budget – emergency services/fire/RCMP – and see what, if any, of their work might be better suited to community-based response, or should be funding provincially through BC Ambulance Services (which, like so many employers, is struggling right now too, so advocacy to the Province will be hard).

Harbour rates

Access and affordability should be prioritized for local residents. I think fees should increase at reasonable rates (and be offset by non-resident fees), and those fees should be reflected in good harbour maintenance.

More coming

(e.g. supportive housing, crime and safety)