NOVEMBER IN TOFINO…THE WINDS OF CHANGE ARE BLOWING
Thanks Ralph for providing this forum. I’ve had some time to write for Tofino News again and elaborate on my platform.
FIX POTHOLES, NOT FIXATE ON PET PROJECTS
Downtown vitalization should first consist of repairing roads, making sidewalks and finishing the MUP so drivers, walkers, and cyclists can move around in a safe and functional town (please do not plant trees in the middle of Campbell St). Future plans for promenades should be considered longer-term.
“Environmental sustainability” is an overused term that has lost meaning. It’s obvious we’ve gained from having pristine nature and tribal parkland surround our peninsula. Habitat preservation has allowed for flourishing tourism, mostly replacing traditional resource extraction. On balance this has been a win-win situation (good for locals, visitors, First Nations and planet). Is it sustainable? Currently we truck in most goods and get power over hundreds of kilometers. In the future we’ll need to do better.
I believe “green is lean.” Using less of something saves money. If heating bills go down from better insulation and heat-transfer systems, that’s desirable. The District can help homeowners with incentives such as breaks on exorbitant building permits. What stops citizens from rain catchments to lessen water consumption? District initiatives can help.
Tofino Brewing Company has created their own initiatives to reduce waste and create methods of reusing (their growlers). I support entrepreneurs that implement environmentally friendly practices. We need to reward people for reducing their footprints and consumption.
The regrettable situation we created, a district with incentive to sell more water to local families, should never again be repeated. We’ve paid the highest water rates in Canada but live in a rainforest. However, it’s mostly a past deal. Looking forward we learn our lessons. I support a simple, flat water rate (the more you use the more pay).
Unless compelled otherwise, I can’t support local, grandiose plans for clean energy (ex. from sewage treatment.) Green technologies should be supported, but we must face the realities of having a small tax base in a remote location. Cost-effective delivery for taxpayers is essential.
Large capital projects such as sewage system upgrades shouldn’t be borne by local families alone. Our tourism industry is too important to the economies of British Columbia and Canada and we must get our fair share of provincial and federal dollars.
Too often our grant applications have been ignored. Maybe some haven’t met acceptable standards. For whatever reason, Tofino got zero during the largest infrastructure-spending spree in Canadian history. A better job must be done in the future because our deficits require success.
CONSTRUCTION PLEASE, NOT CONSULTING FEES
The district has land. What stops us from making affordable housing a reality? We have other advantages: historically low interest rates and a community full of builders. One way forward is to gather information on what works well in comparable locations. Another is to realize we’ll need a consortium if all interests are to be met and the taxpayer is to be respected.
On Lopez in the San Juan Islands, 11 families pooled resources to build units costing them $112,000 each. (http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/01/07/GreenHomesForLess/). They had help from groups and individuals from the private & public sector. Yet, they got a bargain because they worked hard, cooperated and innovated. The homes met LEED for Homes, Built Green, and Energy Star program standards. The homeowners save bundles on energy.
Some BC tourist towns build district-owned housing and developers build cooperative housing for concessions & land. I believe we’re well situated to make progressive, low-income housing a reality. We want young families to stay in Tofino.
TOFINO…A FORCE OF NATURE
Recreational facilities are important. Yet, we live in a place where nature provides a fantastic playground and options for physical health are abundant.
I support the West-Coast Complex as long as Tofino’s taxpayers aren’t on the hook. I worry for the project. That’s a lot of resources, water and power to have an Olympic-sized rink & indoor water-park several kilometers away from Tofino.
From the recent school board meeting I attended in Ukee, it’s clear the one-year deal for gym use is temporary. We need a longer-term solution.
One structure I’d consider is a community centre “plus.” By this I mean some traditional facilities for sports (gymnasium) and learning (move the library in?) with added functionality for Tofino. A yoga room is appropriate and doubles for Zoomba. A computer lab/resource centre is needed for continued learning and town projects. Tofino lacks a “black-box” room for music, theatre and visual art.
We have so much going on festival-wise that a creative and recreation centre could serve as a focal point for community projects. Tofino’s many societies and volunteers could meet, share ideas and trade resources in a supportive environment.
Newcomer festivals like The Feast and Carving On The Edge add to an already amazing roster: Whale Fest, P.R.A.S. Summer & Winter Music Series, Film (& Guerilla), Oyster, Public Market, Food & Wine, Lantern, the list goes on. This is Tofino’s community strength (and great for tourism too).
A community center “plus” would serve citizens and help promote Tofino.
I believe in empowering community groups. When motivated, caring citizens are already steering community projects in areas they have passion for and experience with, they should be supported. Minimal city resources can assist community groups: use of district land, buildings and, where appropriate, small grants and resources.
I don’t think we need centralized arts and cultural committees. Let’s facilitate existing groups best placed to organize and present entertainment and cultural festivals.
My duty is to get in the trenches and exhaust every available option.
My diligence is to seek the most and best advice possible.
Compare and contrast with similar jurisdictions and analyze then disregard the least promising proposals. Get input from citizens to evaluate what’s best for Tofino as a whole. Promote sound ideas and prevent wasted opportunities. Look through a lens of common sense and study council business through a magnifying glass. Serve coastal citizens first and special interests last.
I’m standing on my platform and underpinning beliefs. I pledge to put in the research hours and comparative studies required to make informed decisions. Tofino needs objectivity. I’ll advocate for public/private solutions combined with grassroots/down-home ideas. Together we can fix bumps in the road (literally!).
I thank the many strong teachers of Clayoquot wisdom, those citizens defining Tofino throughout the decades. Our collective potential is great. If given the opportunity, I’ll help present Tofino’s civic governance as reasonable, beneficial and justifiable.
Thanks for reading this,