Occupation: Successful business owner in greater Victoria for over 30 years.
Sidney resident. Have attended most town council and committee meetings over the past three years. Active volunteer in numerous community organizations including: Chair, Mary Winspear Centre Foundation Board; coordinator, Toys for Tots; past vice-president Board of Directors, YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria; project manager, Sidney Business Improvement Area.
1. Why are you running for Mayor?
I am passionate about my community. But the fabric of our town is under stress. Municipal taxes and spending are out of control. There is a growing disconnect between the mayor and council and average citizens who are concerned about the lack of meaningful consultation and closed-door decisions. We need to attract young families, as these are vital to the sustainability of our community. The status quo is not an option. We need new leadership in Sidney to tackle these problems, to preserve those things that make our town great.
2. What are your top three issues to tackle, if elected?
1. Reduce municipal property taxes. We must be more fiscally responsible. My goal is to reduce municipal property tax increases to zero, or no greater than the rate of inflation.
2. Change the way council interacts with citizens. I will launch community consultations on key issues such as the review of the Official Community Plan. I will set up regular, informal town hall meetings to listen to the views of citizens and encourage a dialogue. I will increase accountability by providing periodic report cards.
3. Capitalize on our existing assets to ensure the economic viability of our community.
3. Is council’s relationship with the business community adequate and what would you change if elected?
Our main street is under threat and stores are closing. Business owners and landlords must take the lead in building a healthy business sector, but the town has a role to play. We need to ensure policies affecting the business sector are appropriate and easy to understand. We need to work with the Business Improvement Area to strengthen our branding and marketing to attract new investors, shoppers and tourists.
4. What sort of balance should Sidney seek to achieve on its waterfront land?
Unlike many other communities in the CRD, Sidney has succeeded in preserving public access to large areas of its waterfront for the benefit of all. But in the downtown core, we have only two remaining properties: the pier at the foot of Beacon and the Seaport East property. The town has entered into long term leases for both of these areas. We will need to work with these leaseholders to see how we can make better use of these assets for the benefit of the entire community. One idea could be to create a “Granville Island” type of market on the Seaport East property. We will need to ask Sidney residents to see what they would like to see on their waterfront.
5. How would you contribute to people’s enjoyment in living, working and playing in Sidney?
Sidney residents want to live in a community that is safe. They want a strong and healthy main street with shops and services offering almost everything they need for daily living. They want a caring community. They want to continue to enjoy access to our waterfront. They want to keep our small town charm.
We must foster and support a sense of shared community as we respond to external pressures and changes over the next four years.