Paul Fletcher has resided in the Cowichan Valley for 32 years, many of those as a North Cowichan resident. While he currently lives in Duncan, his interests lie in North Cowichan. He served as a City of Duncan councillor from 2005 to 2011 and is well positioned to improve relationships between North Cowichan and Duncan.
Fletcher is a self-employed photographer and has taught photography for 18 years at Brentwood College School in Mill Bay. He has an extensive service record including, past director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, and volunteer photographer for Plan International in Pakistan and Nicaragua.
His current volunteer activities include serving on the board of Cowichan Wheels as well as being the current president of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, a group he co-founded in 1989.
Sustainable economic development is what prodded Fletcher back into municipal affairs after a seven-year absence. In his words, “Having experienced the unnecessary rise and fall of our small community economies over the years has prompted me to seek election again, this time in North Cowichan.”
His economic development ideas include developing a protocol to speed up the development approval process, making Cowichan a Centre for Learning Excellence, and seeking economic development agreements with North Cowichan neighbours. A constant refrain that Fletcher says he hears from developers is that “we could have dozens of more jobs created if we could just get our building permit. The process is so much slower than the other jurisdictions that we do work in.”
Paul has a long list of ideas to improve the lives of North Cowichan residents. His ideas include proposing a process where citizens can review and have input into controversial issues. He contends that rather than slow the process up, citizen involvement can actually speed things up. Informed citizens who are part of the process are much less likely to oppose worthy projects.
He is also proposing a satellite municipal office in downtown Duncan to serve urban residents, and to hold important public hearings during evening hours in urban areas enabling residents to have an easier time getting to the table.
Recognizing that recent tax rate increases have been difficult for some to deal with, he is suggesting that it is time to hold back tax increases just to give residents some breathing space and time to catch up. He believes that this is achievable through careful spending and some sacrifice.