It’s 2018 General Election time on Salt Spring Island, the Gulf Islands and over much of British Columbia. Our Election Profiles series on the Salt Spring Exchange features candidates who are running for local office. These short interviews are structured so that you can learn about each of the candidates and why you might consider voting for them. This featured local election people profile is for Howard Holzapfel.
Learn more about Howard:
I’m Howard Holzapfel and I’m running for election as Trustee of the Islands Trust.
I believe that problems cannot be addressed by one agency alone, so the best way forward is for agencies and citizens to work together to find solutions for local problems. Having spent over four decades both the in real estate and the construction professions, I’m experienced in land-use and planning procedures. I currently hold both a real estate brokers license and a general contractors license. I have spent a career doing corporate turnarounds and was appointed financial receiver by the 11th circuit court and US bankruptcy court. I look forward to bringing my skills to help solve local problems.
More recently, I have served two terms on both the ferries advisory committee and as trustee of the Saltspring Island Fire Protection District. Examples of changes I’ve been instrumental in bringing about include:
- negotiating with BC Ferries so that thoroughfare passengers would no longer be required to exchange receipts for boarding passes in Swartz Bay
- I’m currently working towards an agreement that would mean Experience Card users would only need to pay the difference between the card balance and fare and still receive the discount without a full top up.
I have the ability to define a problem and come up with a workable solution! On the Fire Board I’ve been advocating that the new fire hall be built out of affordable materials like steel, resulting in construction of a shell for under $700,000.
Lack of affordable housing is a serious problem for our island! Presently there are several groups working to get housing projects built and it will be a priority for me to help those projects move forward and to ensure that there are affordable options for a wide diversity of people.
Another priority will be to facilitate the establishment of laundromat facilities for residents and visitors. I am an environmentalist, but I also recognize the need for responsible growth. A trustee should not be afraid to look at current land-use zoning and to implement needed changes. In collaboration with groups that have already been working to improve livability in Ganges, and with all interested residents, I’d like to work on refining a long-term master plan for Ganges and the island. I’m sure we can find ways to increase livability in Ganges through programs that provide savings and income generation (eg. Requirements at sale for low flow toilets, showers, faucet restrictors, LED lighting, setting aside savings towards improving affordability).
I am known as a fighter, in the sense that I don’t give up easily, and I’m a good listener. My record at ferries advisory and Salt Spring Fire speaks for itself. We all need to work together, set aside our differences and we will all come out ahead.
What brought you to the area?
In one word: “my wife”. From Beth’s childhood there were two important figures in her life and they were Canadian. She shared her dream with me of coming to Canada and now we’re beginning our tenth year on the island. We are grateful to live in this safe, caring community, which also has a hospital, fire service and schools.
What one thing about Salt Spring would you tell someone who has never visited the island?
Our island is rich in culture, the arts and music; let’s not forget farming and the awe-inspiring natural beauty.
If you had a magic Salt Spring wand, what island thing would you change?
I would use this magic wand bring our community together, set aside differences, and move forward in keeping Saltspring the very special place it is.
Which well known person, living or dead, do you think would be a good addition to the island?
Albert Einstein – His ability to imagine, to think outside the box, and his deep commitment to humanitarian values are inspiring to me. Other Salt Springers would find his ideas worth listening to so I’m sure he would be able to help us find workable solutions to housing, water and governance issues.
What do you think the number one community issue on Salt Spring Island is right now?
Affordable housing connected with water supply and distribution.
There are many ways to solve affordable housing and enforcement alone will not work. There are over two hundred homes listed on VRBO and Air B&B. If we only focus on enforcement, we will not create affordable housing. But if we legalize these vacation rentals (place a cap on where and how many) and charge an application fee to ensure that they meet public health and safety concerns as well as an annual license (approx. $500 to $1000) and a bed tax (10 to12%), we could use the proceeds for affordable housing options (including rent subsites and construction).
We should require all homes being sold to be refitted with low flow fixtures these savings can be banked and used for affordable housing.
There has been a lot of attention on affordable housing issues on Salt Spring Island recently. What would you do to address the affordable housing crisis right now?
Which elected position are you seeking?
Trustee Islands Trust
Why should Salt Springers vote for you?
There is a wealth of problems the Islands Trust can help solve. With my experience finding workable solutions to complex problems (in areas as diverse as corporate industry, ferries and the Salt Spring Fire Dept.) I know I can help the Trust make a real and positive difference. I look forward to working with the community in upholding the Trust’s mandate and helping Salt Spring address its many challenges.
Is there a really good interview question we should have asked you?
What are examples of solutions you have had a hand in finding for problems, especially local problems?
How would you have answered your question?
People who know me know that I am always offering ideas that are out of the box to solve to solve issues:
1) I have strongly lobbied the fire board to look into affordable housing at halls 2 and three (Fulford and Central) This would benefit the community in several ways:
a) Provide affordable housing and stabilize membership
b) Improve Response time in both the south and north ends of our island.
c) Provide security for our equipment insuring it will be there when needed.
2) Pushing the concept of having reserve funds for the purchase of required equipment and set asides for a new fire hall reducing the amount for a finance request at referendum and saving interest charges by not having to borrow 100 percent.
3) During my term at the Ferries Advisory Committee (FAC) I lobbied to not require through fare passengers to have to go into the terminal upstairs and be reticketed, now a passenger can go directly to the gate. I lobbied for this after I saw two elderly passengers just getting of the vessel while I was heading back for my connection, I watched for them and they did not make their connection. That was just wrong.
A) I recently have been lobbied to allow experience card uses to have to only top off the amount necessary for the fare, this would be a onetime allowance to receive the discounted through fare.
4) While I was treasurer of the Salt Spring Sailing club, I negotiated the fore shore lease at a lower amount based on the slip fees the club was receiving from its members, saving over $25,000 per year. That lease has now expired and the club is now being charged at the same rates as commercial marinas.