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Vote! Candidates in your area

On October 20 we will select the local people we want to represent us for the next four years.

We contacted each of the candidates running for Ladysmith Council, RDN Area A, CVRD Area G and H to offer them the opportunity to respond (in 100 words or less) to one question.

The question we choose was:


If there was only one thing that you could accomplish during your term in office, what would that be?


For information on school trustees, and more on your local candidates, including bios, photos and more information please visit or facebook: Take 5 Print & online media.

Ladysmith Council

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone will be serving another four years as Mayor by acclamation.


Steve Arnett: Continue to work hard toward the dream of ‘Ownership and Control of our Watershed’ reflecting the UBCM resolution I introduced to the floor in 2011 in order to preserve and protect that resource for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Water is Life. B129  CONTROL OF WATERSHEDS   Ladysmith. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM request the provincial government to develop a funding program that facilitates local government acquisition of both the watershed and adjacent land for those local governments with water systems on privately owned land. Endorsed.

I offer caring, common sense, competence, commitment, collaboration.


Joe Friesenhan: Although there are many issues that the next Council will have to deal with, if I could accomplish only one in the next term, it would have to be ensuring that we have a safe and adequate water supply. The new treatment plant construction will be completed, and we will need to try to obtain funding for raising of the Holland Lake Dam to ensure an adequate supply for present and future residents. We also need to upgrade our supply lines to ensure they are adequate and safe.


Amanda Jacobson: Thoughtful, responsible and sustainable progress to keep Ladysmith a safe, family- and business-friendly place to call home. I would like to see this happen through positive and clear engagement and dialogue with residents, other levels of government and current and potential stakeholders.


Rob Johnson: I would work to change the culture of past Councils of conducting so much business behind closed doors. I find it unacceptable to see that Council has been spending over 60 per cent of its time in secret meetings.

Council has the right and often the need to be secretive, but on a limited number of provisions under the Community Charter that the Municipality works under. Unfortunately, there is a possibility to abuse these provisions. I want to find out if everything is being conducted in the best interest of our citizens and to ensure as much Town business as possible is conducted in public.


Tricia McKay: One thing I want to accomplish during my term on Council is to address our growing taxation. There are many initiatives I hope to work on from ensuring we have adequate water storage to supply water for our growing community, recreation, affordable housing, the waterfront development and roads. But we need to find ways to make this affordable for the taxpayer. I will work to continue finding ways to create partnerships and seek grants to lessen the burden on the taxpayer. I believe we can expand our tax base so families can better afford home ownership and the town can continue to thrive.


Duck Patterson: As a single member of Ladysmith Council, if elected, I don’t see myself accomplishing as an independent but working as a team in the interests of Ladysmith. I would hope to see projects happening on the waterfront in partnership with Stz’uminus First Nation, as well as other levels of government and business. The economics will benefit ALL the residents and make Ladysmith a hub of clean economics on Vancouver Island. The arts and heritage direction will bring more benefit and spin off, and the expanded marina will attract tourists with spending money. It will be something our community will be very proud of!


Malcolm Stanfred Sacht: I would hope that I would accomplish more than one item in the four years, but if I had to choose just one, then it would be to help bring in more liveable waged jobs to our community. I grew up here and am choosing to raise my family here, so I’m very invested in this community. It’s a great town, but we need to keep our people here by encouraging the right kind of businesses to invest in our town. Too often I have seen young people leave in search of work elsewhere.


Marsh Stevens: Now that the water treatment plant is funded and underway, work on increasing supply will move ahead. The engineering report(s) are in hand. In November, a Request for Proposals will go out for a Holland Lake Dam Increase Feasibility Study. Council has set a $3.4 million contribution and directed staff to seek $9.4 million more in funding. Imagine knowing the water supply was sustainable. Imagine the accuracy of the planning that could be performed with that knowledge. Analytical and critical thinking skills are what I could bring to the Council that makes this happen.


Jeff Virtanen: Ushering through progressive ideas while being financially responsible. I feel people are working harder than ever to make ends meet. I don’t think we can ask Ladysmithians for more until we can prove we are spending our tax dollars wisely. That being said, I understand costs are constantly increasing, and we need to fund certain things now so we can leave the town to our children in the same good shape our parents/grandparents left it in. It’s a fine balancing act, but it can be done. It must be done. The residents of our town deserve nothing less.

RDN Area A

Sharron Thomson: My goal is to increase the level of community engagement and community collaboration. I grew up in this community and remember when there was more involvement with all the parents, school children and teenagers — all the young families. The community came together to develop our volunteer fire departments, our water system, to improve our schools and to provide activities for our teens. We were all involved, Cedar, South Wellington, Cassidy and Yellow Point. We need the ideas and input of all the residents of all ages to grow these communities the way we want them to be.


Keith Wilson: If I were to accomplish only one thing during my term in office, it would be to bring the neighbourhoods of Electoral Area “A” together so that they thought of themselves as being a single community that is spread over a large area. There is a need for several improvements to service in some parts of the area, but those areas don’t have enough people to make a strong voice at the regional table. However, if the entire electoral area were to speak with one voice, I think we could accomplish a lot going forward.


Bill Carter: I’d like to see an ongoing community discussion around items

that could impact our rural lifestyle, such as developments that may affect drinking water, neighbourhood traffic flows, wildlife corridors, agricultural interests, public access to the waterfront and destruction of wetlands — to name a few concerns. In short, a shift from unilateral to a more inclusive voice for the people.


Mary Marcotte: From the very beginning, I have been a strong supporter of the North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department. It has been my goal to see that the fire hall renovations were completed — a promise that I made to the fire department. I want to see that promise through and give the department a wonderful place to call home away from home. We have all worked hard to make sure this becomes a reality and will not stop until it is finished.


Murray McNab: Area H residents have the right to information about developments in their community, such as construction of the new fire hall and the acquisition of Bute Island as a regional park. I would improve communications with Area H taxpayers by reviving the fire, parks and advisory planning commissions. The fire commission could be vital in organizing resources for a large scale disaster, such as an earthquake or wildfire. An active parks commission keeps the community involved in our unique parks. The advisory planning commission should take a broader role in land development issues, particularly with regard to water resources.


Sean Jonas: Give the vision for the future of Saltair and Area G back to the people of Saltair. In the years that I have been actively volunteering in the Cowichan Valley (since about 2006), I have witnessed what works in creating inclusive community visions and what doesn’t. The community charrette process that was recently accomplished for the Cowichan Bay Waterfront is a tribute to what a community can accomplish when it comes together. In Saltair, we need to look at doing the same process on a smaller scale, but with equal community involvement. In four years, I want to see everyone enjoying the places we commune, in unity.


Lynn Smith: It would be to establish the highest possible standard of community engagement. Elected officials must be transparent, consultative, engaging, informative and accountable. If I am elected Area G Director, there will be more community meetings, information and news. I will want to know what the communities in Area G are concerned about and know what they think before I adopt a position on any proposal. I will also want to know they are informed. I don’t think electors should have to go looking for information about issues and proposals. Information should be delivered accurately and completely before consultations take place.


Rod Smith: I have spent the last 38 years bringing people together in partnership for positive change. The potential for the Area G community is tremendous. If we can come together in a shared vision, we can be a positive force in the Region while preserving the unique character of our community. The new Saltair Centre has the potential to help unite the community. The love that the dedicated volunteers have poured into this facility is a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together. I believe in the power of partnerships. Together we can address the issues we face now and in the future.


Lia Versaevel: Over my term as director, I plan to make the opportunity to listen to the voice of every resident in Area G and represent that voice on committees and at the Board. The role of director is to bring communities together, to work diligently towards cohesion and comprehension, bringing out the facts and dispelling the myths and rumours. If I can achieve one thing, it will be to put an end to the discontent currently tearing communities apart. As a conflict resolution expert, I know this is an attainable objective. Community engagement will be the result.

Election Referendums

In addition to general voting in upcoming local government elections, eligible electors of all nine Electoral Areas of the CVRD, and its four member municipalities, (City of Duncan, District of North Cowichan, Town of Lake Cowichan & Town of Ladysmith), will be provided opportunity to vote in Regional Assent Voting (Referenda).

Assent Voting will be conducted alongside advance and general voting on Wednesday, October 10, Tuesday, October 16 and Saturday, October 20. Please note: the Town of Ladysmith’s second day of Advance Voting is Wednesday, October 17 rather than the 16th.

Eligible electors will be asked two Referendum Questions, (Bylaw No’s: 4228 & 4229) to establish two regional services: the Cowichan Housing Association Annual Financial Contribution Service; and the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Service.

“CVRD Bylaw No. 4201 – Cowichan Housing Association Annual Financial Contribution Service Establishment Bylaw, 2018”, will allow the CVRD to annually requisition up to the greater of $765,000 or an amount equal to the amount that could be raised by a property value tax of $0.04584 per $1,000 of net taxable value of land and improvements within the service area to assist the Cowichan Housing Association with costs associated with providing programs and services related to affordable housing and homelessness prevention in the Cowichan Valley.

“CVRD Bylaw No. 4202 – Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Service Establishment Bylaw, 2018”, will allow the CVRD to annually requisition up to the greater of $750,000 or an amount equal to the amount that could be raised by a property value tax of $0.045050 per $1,000 of net taxable value of land and improvements within the service area to establish a service for the purpose of drinking water and watershed protection within the Cowichan Valley Regional District.


About the author: Angie

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