2023 Local Community Commission Election Candidate Profile - Nejmah Guermoudi

Learn more about Nejmah Guermoudi 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 Nejmah Guermoudi

I am a first-generation immigrant and am grateful for the privilege in calling this island home. I recognize that we are on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish people who have taken such care in stewarding this special place since time immemorial, before the complex array of settlers came and disrupted this natural state, yet also bringing their own stories of resilience as they chose to homestead, farm and build community on this Salty Rock.

I am a neuro-divergent mother of three beautiful children, one who is all grown up now, and two still in the nest.

While I travelled a great deal, SSI has been my true home since I first arrived here in 1996.

I am an artist, farmer, community clownselor and systems-thinker.

I am passionate about working towards new and creative solutions to our local issues that harmonize People and Planet. I believe in the middle path that keeps us in balance with nature and each other.

And, instead of another article to read, I decided to make a video that answers all the questions here. (Video Below) It's a one take, so hope you enjoy it! I'll give some short answers here for those who can't watch the video though!

What brought you to the island?

Love and Community! (more details in the video!) (Video Below)

What one thing about the island would you tell someone who has never visited?

This was a tough one...So many things I could think of! I landed on our infinity loop of island roads and the need to get out on to the water to get to the sweetest spots!

If you could change one thing about Salt Spring, what would you change?

I speak to the siloed governance and organizations, and our deep need to harmonize our community planning.

What do you think is the most important community issue on the island right now?

The need for a unified community plan and, HOUSING of course!

What is your favourite spot/place to visit on Salt Spring Island?

So many favorite spots, but Xwaaqw'um (Burgoyne Bay) and the farmlands of Fulford are the places I feel most connected to.

Which elected position are you seeking?

Local Community Commissioner!

Why should Salt Springers vote for you?

Because I am a systems-thinker, community collaborator and a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in decision-making. I also have a strong knowledge base of our governance systems and am actively engaged in solutions-focused initiatives through my community work. I am a long-time Islander, mother and Honour Roll student of Social Work.

How do you plan to engage the community in your work?

I believe that we need to engage and involve our community in governance and policy work as much as possible. We need to create low-barrier pathways into engagement that amplifies all voices, includes direct support to Indigenous representation and acknowledges the incredible work that our Island Community has accomplished by establishing the services, improvement districts, waterways, markets, trails, parks and more that the CRD has taken over managing throughout the years.

Is there a really good interview question we should have asked you?

What's the non-profit that you run and what do you do?

How would you have answered your question?

I run a non-profit called Green Ground Community Design Society who's purpose is to alleviate poverty through the implementation of an eco-social housing pilot project.

Due to the absence of land and a serious lack of non-institutional low-barrier programs around creativity and community, we rented our first location beside the Library on McPhillips Ave. Initially, we ran the space as an art space and tool library. When SIMS became an opportunity, we jumped on it to expand the art studio and Toolery (tool library), at which point the focused activity at our McPhillips spot shifted to a safer space that included harm reduction supports and services, a daily food program and a peer-centric model that encourage folks to participate in caring for the space and each other.

Watch the video to hear more about what was working and what wasn't and what our new trajectory is for the summer and fall 2023 season at both spaces!

Ultimately, downtown outreach is not to be taken lightly and requires a coordinated response that must include all stakeholders, from government, organizations and the people who are in need of supports, spaces and opportunities for growth. While I did my best to provide a meaningful outreach space with an empowerment approach, with decentralized management, I can't do this on my own. I have made many attempts (over the almost two years that we have been operating) to draw in support from local and off-island organizations that could help foster the unique community during growth curves that were both challenging and enlightening. Unfortunately, without greater support in the form of mental health professionals, social service organizations and further funding, I could not hold it alone any longer. This revelation lead me to pull back from the deep frontline work that I have been holding and to seek a position in public office through the LCC as a way to advocate for more accountability within our non-profit service-oriented organizations to ensure coordinated services, programs and protocols become the norm when operating in our community.

See all the profiles that have been submitted by other candidates for the 2023 Local Community Commission Election.

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