First off I would like to congratulate the newly elected and inaugurated Mayors, Councillors, CRD Directors and Islands Trustees across Saanich North and the Islands. And, raise my hands to the Chief Rebecca David and her new Council recently elected in Pauquachin as well.
There are more than 60 elected officials in local and first nations governments in our riding and I appreciate their hard work and leadership on behalf of our community. A special acknowledgement is due for those not returning to the table.
Thank you Mayors Alice Finall and Steve Price, and Councillors Erin Bremner-Mitchell, Tim Chad, Alicia Holman, Mervyn Lougher-Goodey, Cam McClennan and Jack Thornburgh. Thank you for your community service.
I started public life as a Councillor in Central Saanich. In January 2013 I decided to step away from the local government table and run provincially because I was frustrated with the dysfunctional relationship between the province and municipalities.
The frustration has not been forgotten and as we move into this next Council term I renew my commitment to better the relationship. Whether it be through the Local Government Act, Agricultural Land Reserve Act, tax policy, or the myriad of other ways we are intertwined there is no doubt we can do much better.
Through better coordination of community planning and service delivery to strongly advocating for more provincial infrastructure funding to support the residents Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands we must work together on critical issues like housing, health care (doctors), education (schools) and transportation (transit).
I visit local business regularly to get a better understanding of the economic engine of our community and region. We have incredible homegrown companies in the Keating Business Park and West Sidney Industrial Park.
My most recent visits to Epicure and Nicholson Manufacturing have highlighted the fact that we generate more than a billion dollars of economic benefit but also that is not to be taken for granted. The business climate is global, complex and fragile. We compete with aggressive markets looking to attract economic investment.
I am thankful to those businesses opening their doors to me to help better my understanding of those factors. Over the coming weeks, months and years, I look forward to working with my colleagues in local and first nations governments to ensure we are striking the balance in community and economic development.
Collectively we must take stock of how we are nurturing the growth of community, training for a skilled workforce, housing and educating a diverse population, creating robust connections across cultural differences and with the Gulf Island communities and transportation.
Transportation continues to be primary challenge for the Saanich Peninsula. I was a targeted issue at all-candidate meetings in the recent elections, with residents demanding better connectivity.
It is not just more roads and highways, it is more efficient transit and ferry services, increased walking and cycling infrastructure. I heard the call for better mobility on all fronts. I have recently connected Emilie de Rosenroll from the South Island Prosperity Project to discuss the exciting work they are doing and will host another community dialogue on transportation.
Do you have concerns and ideas about transportation? Your opinions and thoughts are welcome!
I hope you will join us on Saturday November 24, 2018 at 11:00am in the Saanich North and the Islands constituency office located at #215-2506 Beacon Avenue in Sidney, BC. Visit www.saanichnorthandtheislands.com/ for more information.