Two-term Duncan councillor Michelle Staples is looking to fill the void left by departing mayor Phil Kent.
Staples has announced her bid to become Duncan’s next mayor, stating the time is right to make the transition from part of the team to leader of it.
“In terms of why I’m running for mayor, there’s so many reasons, it’s hard to define just one,” Staples explained. “We are at a time now where there are a lot of things changing and impacting our community,” she said.
With respect to the issues of affordable housing and homelessness and others, Staples said people are figuring out it’s going to take not just the mayor and council but the City’s neighbours to solve together.
“We have to work with our neighbours, we have to work with our partners to build solutions to all of these things. We can’t look at these things in isolation as being just a Duncan problem,” she said.
Staples has no concerns about the possibility of leading an inexperienced council during turbulent times.
“Within the City itself, there are people who are there who have the corporate history and there’s certainly people around that I still connect with all the time, that have been on councils of the past,” she explained. “I’m always asking them questions, along with people in the community who I’ve asked to share their knowledge. We have those mentors available in the community and they’re people that I’ve been talking to since I’ve been on council.”
Staples is currently the executive director of Social Planning Cowichan but she would leave that role if elected. She would retain the lessons she learned while there, however.
“That job has connected me with understanding not just the social issues in our community but with the economic issues as well,” she said. “I have a background in both of those things and I recognize that they’re not inseparable, they are very dependent on each other. You can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people.”
Having lived in the region for 26 years, Staples knows it well and cares deeply for it.
“I’ve always been active and engaged in the community whether in a political role serving on council or not. I’ve always been doing work in the community. I think that’s really important. This is my home. This is the place where my children are being raised and one of the things that makes it so amazing are all of the relationships,” she said. “One of the things that makes us able to work through some of the things and face some of the challenges that we’ve faced in the past is because of the relationships we have. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve made this my home and I’ve dedicated myself to working with this community. That’s not going to change. This is just another way I can do it and have a positive effect and bring something different to the conversation around the table.”
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