Learn more about Ben Corno who is running as a candidate for Commissioner, in the 2023 Local Community Commission Election.
The 2023 Salt Spring Island Local Community Commission Election is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, 2023. The Capital Regional District will be conducting voting to elect four commissioners to the Local Community Commission (LCC). Learn more about what the LCC is and how it works.
About Ben Corno
I have lived on Salt Spring for 13 years. The majority of those 13 years have been spent honing my growing skills, and contributing to the farm businesses I worked for, along with building a pretty great one , Heavenly Roots Vegetable Farm, with my partner, Kaleigh Barton.
It looks like we have completed our farming journey together, and we are both working in town. I serve at Dagwoods a few days a week, work with the golf course (I studied Greenskeeping in 2006), and work as a ticket guy/projectionist at the Fritz. I am enjoying the freedom to be a part of this these great businesses and get to go home at the end of the day, satisfied.
I have been a major part of the Salt Spring Disc Golf Club administration since 2016, and I am currently serving as the Vice-President. I am in my 4th year of Chairing the Community Market Society, the society that hosts the Tuesday Market. I have been co-hosting Seedy Saturday since 2015. In the winter, I began a volunteer role contributing mental energy, and vision on a committee assembled to realize the farming component of Community Services Affordable Housing and Farm Community at the property in front of Brinkworthy.
What brought you to the island?
I came to Salt Spring to work at Blackburn Meadows Golf Course in 2010. I had a great friend who was working as the Superintendent there, and she invited me to help her for the Summer; I was finishing my Horticultural degree and needed a place to do my practicum. It was that Summer that I started volunteering at Foxglove Farm, on Mount Maxwell, and my agricultural journey began.
What one thing about the island would you tell someone who has never visited?
Check out the poster boards by Barb's Buns, and the Salt Spring Exchange events page because there is a lot more happening during your stay than meets the eye.
If you could change one thing about Salt Spring, what would you change?
I would improve the reach and frequency of our bus system, and pair that with ample parking near the ferries so that getting around for the day, or the weekend on Salt Spring was easier with Public Transit, and the community could use it more reliably to meet their transportation needs.
What do you think is the most important community issue on the island right now?
Income disparity, and the effect that is has on our collective compassion. Most people here are challenged in some way economically, be it to simply afford their cost of living, secure a rental, carry their mortgages, raise their families, or support their retirement. Each of our economic realities matters to us, and in some way causes us stress, though not equally. When we see our community as an interconnected economy, effected by each others needs, we can tend to become suspicious of the other; is the other making it harder for me?
In short, our individual challenges all happen inside of the economic reality of Salt Spring Island, and we need each other, for better or for worse. How we choose to care for each other plays a big part in shoring up our hopes for working together.
What is your favourite spot/place to visit on Salt Spring Island?
Mill Farm Provincial Park, on back of Mount Bruce, after Spirit Lake on the way to Musgrave Landing. It is so lush, wild but walkable, great routing, and it feels like I have taken a vacation when I go there.
Which elected position are you seeking?
Local Community Commissioner.
Why should Salt Springers vote for you?
I think you should consider giving me one of your four votes because I love to think of public service from the ground up. My real happiness and biggest thrill comes from listening and learning from any of our community members how our governments could help facilitate their plans, and address their needs. I find that all of the confusion and noise go away when I am in these meetups and my love for the community just gets to breathe. I want to recharge in these in-person exchanges so that I can bring the passion of our community into the Monthly Meetings, and into the bettering of my understanding of how our community works.
How do you plan to engage the community in your work?
By being tirelessly available, making time to meetup in person, encouraging individuals to get face time with the Local Community Commissioners, and being consistently elevating the needs of our community groups through my work. My work is your work.
Is there a really good interview question we should have asked you?
You ran as a Trustee in October, and now as a Commissioner in May, are you interested in these organizations or are you just trying to be "a politician".
How would you have answered your question?
When I got into learning about the Islands Trust, and the crucial role it plays in the how Salt Spring looks, and works for the people who live here, it was easy for me to get my heard around. Every meeting I had showed me more about how the Trust functioned on the ground for businesses, property owners, and community members. By election time, I felt like I was already on board.
When I began considering submitting myself for the LCC election, I had to ask myself: now what is this? The election cycle is much shorter and I feel a bit out of the water with such an array of services falling under the purview of the LCC. However, when I encounter my thoughts on the importance of public service, and the quality, and characteristics of the people in those crucial roles, I know that I trust myself and my motivations. I want to be the great communicator, listener, learner and amplifier for the community that I think we all deserve from all 4 of the people who sit on the LCC.