1. What community involvement have you had?
I have served on municipal committees/working groups in West Vancouver for more than 25 years, including Community Day, Parks & Environment, Environmental Strategy and Climate Action. I am now on the Board of the WV Streamkeeper Society and actively take part in stream surveys and manage public events. I also volunteer at my son’s school.
2. What are the key issues facing WV and what action would you take in these areas of concern?
One key issue is: how to keep taxes reasonable without undermining service and infrastructure needs? I believe we need to:
(1) maximize efficiency in each municipal department,
(2) share and save costs with neighbouring municipalities,
(3) lobby higher levels of government to contribute funding or change the tax system to allow for new funding sources,
(4) think “smarter”, for example, recover gas, phosphates, ash, heat & water from the new Waste Water Treatment Plant (to be built by 2020) to provide revenue.
Another key issue is: Ambleside and the new Public Safety Building
The Ambleside business district and waterfront should be a centre for the community and the distinct neighbourhood; walkable, friendly, housing, and a broad selection of goods and services. Arts (and nature) groups should be integrated into the plan using existing buildings and/or buildings off the waterfront. It is not clear to me that much efficiency will be gained by integrating police and fire together in a new Public Safety Building; public consultation in January will focus on the size, scope, design, location, cost, funding sources and timeline.
Another key issue is housing:
It should be a goal to encourage housing which will suit a range of citizens who will help the community to be vibrant and engaged. Several years ago already, the Housing Working Group suggested increasing choice and affordability by promoting multi-family in certain areas, coach houses (this pilot is going nowhere!), and smaller houses with small gardens. This may mean subdividing lots in certain areas to get smaller, more affordable houses. I support these recommendations as well as encouraging growth in existing areas, and “green” homes, buildings and renovations. (Green buildings – LEED – have 10% greater value and 13.6% lower operating costs than counterparts.)
Coming soon are the developments of Evelyn Drive, Rodgers Creek, the “Wetmore” site, the Kiwanis site, and, in the longer term, Ambleside. This represents about 1500 units over the next 3-10 years. Having said all this, we have the costliest housing in Canada, and I do not think “affordability” will change a great deal in the near future.
3. How do you achieve a balance of competing interests within the community?
Ideally, bring the people together to discuss the issues and find common ground, then work together from there to find solutions acceptable to all. Alternatively, staff can manage a process of public input and recommendations from different interests and such a report can come to Council and/or a public hearing so that both sides can be heard. The important goal to keep in mind is what is best for the entire community, for the short term and for the long-term.
4. Do you have expectations of change in the relationship between West Vancouver and the GVRD and between West Vancouver and the Provincial Government?
In the short-term, I do not expect much change with the GVRD/Metro Vancouver or the provincial government relationships. If anything, I think these relationships may become more strained in the future due to budget shortfalls, and systemic and jurisdictional limitations.
We will have to work with neighbouring municipalities to share resources and costs when we can, and we will have to lobby higher levels of government to contribute funding or change the tax system to allow for new funding sources.
5. What management and organizational skills do you bring to this position?
Early in my career I enjoyed work as a secondary school science teacher in West Vancouver and also owned my own education business. I have since worked abroad, as a teacher and lawyer, and have spent much of my career working in the non-profit sector; as a Project Manager for the Law Courts Education Society of BC, and Executive Director of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network in Ottawa.
I have managed many multi-year projects funded by public tax dollars from federal and provincial ministries, and I ensured that these projects all came in on-time and on-budget. I have chaired several national and provincial committees, where staff, stakeholders and volunteers worked together to implement successful projects. I have often evaluated and monitored budgets, staff, and project objectives to ensure objectives and outcomes were met effectively.