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CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sidney council
Occupation: Owner of A Paddle in the Park Kayaking.
Family status: Common law
Political experience: Spent three years on North Cowichan council.
Biggest issue in this election: Accessibility to the decision-making processes.
To improve council I would: Update the municipal web site and adding a feature that allows people to post their thoughts on an issue.
What council has done well: Many things.
How to improve it: Make council more accessible to people.
Family status: Engaged father of three school-aged children.
Political experience: No elected political experience.
Biggest issue in this election: Growing our business core is the biggest issue. We must improve parking and continue to have a tax rate structure that is business friendly. With business comes employment, which leads to the need for affordable housing in our town. That allows for our seniors to continue to enjoy a quality retirement life and new families to live and grow in Sidney and not have to commute to work locally.
How to solve it: Work with all interests: business, developers, taxpayers and town employees, in finding a solution to attract the business we need to continue to grow and prosper as a town. I would invite all the above parties to come forward in a summit and strategize an economic development plan that council can implement to move forward in finding solutions to Sidney’s issues.
What council has done well: Given the unprecedented economic turmoil during the last three years, the mayor and council have done an impressive job in keeping Sidney vibrant, our taxes reasonable and more importantly keeping Sidney as a leader in fiscal responsibility while continuing with the 20 year town plan.
To improve council I would: Continue to support the work of the previous council in its effort to enhance Sidney’s economic growth. I will support affordable housing by continuing the secondary suite legalization and below market value housing. I would support and initiate bylaws to ensure this process progresses without extensive bureaucratic barriers.
Occupation: Administrator, author, and advocate
Family: Two married daughters; three grandchildren
Political Experience: No elected political experience.
Biggest issue in this election: Retaining the unique small-town character of Sidney while maintaning the vibrant business, cultural and recreational aspects of the community. I trust the issue will be addressed by council continuing to work together with individual citizens, community groups, and business owners. This requires careful listening, and willingness to co-operate on everyone’s part.
How to solve it: I trust the issue will be addressed by council continuing to work together with individual citizens, community groups, and business owners. This requires careful listening, and willingness to co-operate on everyone’s part.
What council has done well: Putting forward Vision 2020; having a strategy to implement the Official Community Plan; Art Sea (to show Sidney is also an art town as well as a book town), and National Bufflehead Day in Lillian Hoffar Park (in co-operation with our First Nations neighbours, and North Saanich) and continued commitment to the Climate Action Plan.
To improve council I would: encourage increased public participation in town hall meetings; more emphasis on collaboration with North and Central Saanich municipalities, starting in January 2012.
Occupation: Semi-retired, former BC Hydro technician and currently self-employed owner of Price Gardening.
Family status: Married for 33 years to my wife Fiona, with three grown sons and one grandson.
Political experience: Elected to Sidney council in November 2008.
Biggest issue in this election: Of many issues, one is the safety of our children crossing the Pat Bay highway, a busy freeway, with only a school crossing guard. This, as I have pointed out to the Minister of Transportation Blair Lekstrom, is an unacceptable risk to all residents of Sidney.
How to solve it: As vice chair of the Highway 17 steering committee I have been working on obtaining a pedestrian overpass at Beacon Avenue for three years. Council recently met with the minister who assures us an announcement is as close as December.
What council has done well: Spectacular Lochside waterfront and Iroquois park improvements. With $2.26 million in grants the town obtained millions worth of improvements for one-third of the cost. Financed at record low interest rates, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity realized by this council.
To improve council I would: Mayor and council have worked together in our first term to do exactly that; we strive to improve everything. Some initiatives the public may not notice, others like the Lochside waterfront park are more extraordinary; they show that this town is on the right path for the future.
Occupation: Retired civil engineer, Canadian Forces
Family status: Married; two adult children and one grandchild.
Political experience: Finishing first term as councillor for Town of Sidney.
Biggest issue in this election: As Sidney’s population grows the largest municipal concern will be the need to balance parking related expectations of residents, employees and customers. This problem is now occurring particularly in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the down town core and causing disatisfaction between residents and business owners.
To improve council I would: A new, three-hour parking lot Third Street and Bevan Avenue has been commissioned recently to help with customer parking. Businesses may need to subsidize long term parking for their employees and residential areas may become resident parking only or a combination of the above in order to best satisfy all stakeholders.
What council has done well: Council took advantage of the various federal and provincial programs to provide new facilities at Lochside Drive and Iroquois Park. Council had to increase the debt, but will receive excellent value for the residents of Sidney at one-third of the cost. With low interest rates and a long amortization, individual municipal taxes have gone up by less than three per cent.
To improve council I would: Encourage interested residents to attend council meetings particularly when agenda items that pertain to their neighbourhood are being discussed. I always make myself available to town residents and business owners to listen and to talk about municipal affairs and would continue to do so if re-elected.
Occupation: Security guard.
Political experience: Sidney town councillor from 2005 to 2008.
Biggest issue this election: There is no single biggest issue, but many issues that are important to every resident on many levels, including: affordable housing for families and seniors, parking, height restrictions on waterfront developments and traffic flow.
How to solve it: This can be solved by council working together to bring forth plans to make this possible and if I should be elected I will work hard to keep this issue moving forward.
To improve council I would: listen to the residents’ concerns and be the voice for everyone from the Port of Sidney to the farthest streets of West and North Sidney. I would also encourage the residents of Sidney to attend council meetings and voice their concerns.
Occupation: Concierge Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa
Family status: Married
Political experience: Sidney councillor from 2008 to 2011.
Biggest issue in this election: affordable/worker housing.
How to solve it: Work with developers and the business community. Developers are not a charity. As council we have not only to support them, but we have to look at incentives. I personally have been in contact with a manufacturer of affordable units and if re-elected will bring this manufacturer to Sidney to make a presentation.
What council has done well: Worked together as a council, being open minded with respect to new development and at all times acting in the best interests of our town. For example: Advancing our strategic planning and our Official Community Plan by supporting various planning initiatives including the adoption of the town’s first Climate Action Plan.
To improve council I would: Continue to be open minded with respect to new development proposals. Engage and truly listen to the residents and business community within Sidney and most importantly to be fiscally responsible, which we have been. We have been completely transparent in all we have done. Visit our town hall for the answers.
Occupation: retired director of Sidney Silver Threads.
Family status: married to Charles Loveless, with five sons and seven grandchildren.
Political experience: elected to Saanich School Board in 1981, served 12 years including chair and vice-chair. Elected to Sidney council in 1999.
Biggest issue in this election: The continuing challenge of balancing community needs within the constraints of a difficult economic climate. Always aiming to deliver top value for our tax dollar.
How to fix it: Continued vigilance in the pursuit of additional special project money and cautious growth to maintain our tax base.
What council has done well: The careful application of stimulus monies means we have been able to create employment, make important improvements to our community at the same time as seeing tax dollars paid to senior levels of government returned to the benefit of our community.
To improve council I would: Continue to address the issue of open and effective communication in order to provide factual information about Council decisions.
Family status: married
Political experience: previously spent 15 years on Sidney town council
Biggest issue this election: The town’s financial security in relation to the Parlimentary Budget Officer’s 2011 Fiscal Sustainability Report.
How to solve it: Work with staff to ensure the town’s finances are fiscally sustainable.
What council has done well: Responsibly maintained our security and physical infrastructure.
To improve council I would: ensure our infrastructure is supported and sustainable.