I don’t ever forget that I was elected with the most votes in Sechelt history. It’s something that I think about every week as I do my Council work. That show of support has made me work harder than I ever have before.
Looking back over the last 3.5 years, I’m reflecting upon this legacy of work and I’m unabashedly proud of it.
In that time frame I have put in on average 10-20 hours a week of Council work, as well as 30-45 hours of paid work in residential construction. I’ve provided for my family, as well as been able to do important work for the community. I’ve worked on 10 houses to completion, and still managed to be a partner, a father, a Councillor, and have some fun along the way.
I live for my work, and because of that, this gruelling schedule hasn’t fatigued me in the slightest. In fact, I’m ending this term much more experienced and dedicated than I was in 2014.
Here’s a little of what has been accomplished since that time:
I’ve said it many times throughout my term that Sechelt is facing some very tough choices financially in the coming years. That continues to be the case, as I’ve written and spoke about in detail.
We simply haven’t spent enough on the upkeep or replacement of our capital assets. A cornerstone of good financial planning is recouping the depreciation on your critical infrastructure (in our case: roads, pipes and buildings), to spend on future replacements or maintenance.
Sechelt, along with many, many other municipalities, has not put aside anything to replace aging infrastructure. In our case this depreciation represents around 25% of the annual budget, so it’s a massive amount that goes unfunded each year.
Starting this year, we’re going to begin correcting this structural imbalance.
We’ve started a capital renewal reserve which will be the focus of regular funding increases gradually over the next 20 years until the underlying situation is fully corrected.
Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are, in a nutshell, what it costs to service a lot with municipal services, e.g. roads, parks, pipes, garbage collection, sewer etc. As new lots are created through development, that service fee is then charged at the time of subdivision.
For years Sechelt had DCCs that didn’t reflect the true costs to the municipality of providing infrastructure for growth. We have asked our staff to make sure we are adequately charging for what it actually costs taxpayers for these services.
We’ve since changed our DCCs to reflect this and have added $40 million in capital funding over the next 25 years. That’s over 6 pages of planned community projects, listed here (scroll down to the last 6 pages).
Additionally, these funds can be used to partner Federally and Provincially, and further multiply that funding for community projects, potentially up to $100 million total.
This is watershed change for our community that will be felt over the next 20 years.
I have spent much more time on planning than any other file during my term as Councillor. This is reflected in the decision by the Mayor to appoint me to Chair of the Planning and Development Committee last year.
In our term we have been dealing with an unprecedented construction boom in Sechelt. We have around 2000 units proposed, that could add 1/3 to our population, and change the face of Sechelt forever.
Take some time yourself to look through Sechelt’s plan for a sustainable and livable future. It was put together by our most prominent community minded citizens, and still presents the clearest agreed upon view of our community will.
We take that very seriously as a Council and are working to reflect this will on behalf of the community.
Sechelt shares many interests with its partners in the SCRD, by far the most crucial being water.
I am proud to have written the resolution that assigned our representatives the pointed task of securing an expanded supply to meet Sechelt’s growing needs of potable water.
Currently the SCRD board remains deadlocked on this issue, despite the clear leadership and political will shown by Sechelt Council. We will need the public’s dedicated support to remove this deadlock in the years ahead.
I have also been working to reflect Sechelt’s interests to partnering governments at a higher level at every opportunity that has presented itself.
I consider that we have many important Federal issues due to our proximity and dependence upon the ocean, which is their jurisdiction, but also embodies many interests of Sechelt residents.
We’ve been very successful at raising oil spill awareness on behalf of our citizens. In 2015, I personally drafted and backstopped the AVICC emergency resolution to the English Bay Oil Spill to its eventual unanimous support by that body.
Then in 2016, in the wake of the Nathan Stewart Tug spill near Bella Bella, Sechelt Council asked Western Marine Resources Corporation to present their current spill response capacity to AVICC members at our AGM. The result was a thorough rebuke of current response capacity and a unified voice calling for greater response measures on behalf of coastal municipalities.
In 2017 the Canadian Federal Government launched their Oceans Protection Plan seeking to improve spill protections.
In 2018 the BC Provincial government launched their process for enhanced spill protection as a further response.
This is a small sampling of my political adventures on Sechelt Council to date, and I’ll be writing more in the coming months.
I will also be sure to include a thorough treatment of our challenges and missed opportunities.
I wholeheartedly thank the people of Sechelt for their continued support.