CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that there is no online voting. Online voting is not permitted in B.C. since the Local Government Act does not allow it. Electors must vote in person, or through mail ballot voting. Note that only a small number of electors will qualify for mail ballot voting and the qualifications are listed here: https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/2899/Mail-Ballot-Voting.
Qualified electors may apply online for a ballot package which will be mailed to them.
There will be an all-candidates meeting on Sept. 28 for the three candidates running to be director for Shawnigan Lake on the Cowichan Valley Regional District board in a byelection.
Three candidates — Sierra Acton, Larry Jorginson and Bill Savage — have thrown their hats into the ring to replace Sonia Furstenau, who was elected as the Green MLA for Cowichan Valley in May’s provincial election.
The meeting will take place at Shawnigan Lake School at 7 p.m.
The byelection will be held on Sept. 30 to elect a director to fill the position for the remainder of a term expiring in the fall of 2018.
In addition to general voting day, two advance voting opportunities will take place on Sept. 20 and 26.
Sierra Acton was Sonia Furstenau’s alternate on the CVRD’s board of directors during her term.
Acton has already spent much time in the director position when Furstenau was campaigning in the provincial election, and as the interim director since she was elected last spring.
Acton, who originally comes from Vancouver, has been living in the Shawnigan Lake area for more than three years.
She said that in her short time as interim director, she has been working hard to improve the area’s roads and the village itself.
“We have some empty buildings in the village, and there’s a lack of parking that needs to be dealt with,” Acton said.
“We need to work together to develop a plan that will attract investors to the village and the area. We need an idea like the goats on the roof in Coombs to provide a great experience that will draw people from Victoria and other areas.”
Acton said few people realize that the Kinsol Trestle, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, is in the Shawnigan Lake area and she would explore ways to use its popularity to increase visits to other areas of the community.
She said she’d like to make the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre more of a gathering place for the area, and work towards the revitalization of Elsie Miles Park.
Acton said the expansion of the Shawnigan Lake Museum, and increasing arts and culture in the community, are other priorities if elected.
“The Cowichan South Arts Guild is looking for a home, and I’m hoping they’ll choose Shawnigan Lake,” she said.
Bill Savage, a resident of Shawnigan Lake for 20 years, served as a member of the Shawnigan Parks and Recreation Commission from 2005-2015.
He said that among the commission’s accomplishments during that time was the completion of the Parks and Trails Master Plan, installation of washroom facilities at Shawnigan Hills Park, the acquisition of Elsie Myles School and the old Community Hall, and the purchase of Baldy Mountain.
Savage said he’s proud of the commission’s achievements while he was a member, and is honoured to have worked with such a dedicated and wonderful group of people.
Savage currently serves as a board member of the Shawnigan Basin Society.
“I’m running for the director’s position because it’s time we got our priorities in order; the CVRD should be serving this community and not the other way around,” he said.
“I know that the community of Shawnigan Lake is a gem worth protecting and a treasure worth fighting for. To that end, I am running a clean campaign. I will have no pamphlets or signs which means no resources wasted and no waste produced, and I will have no financial donations which means no special favours owed. Elect me as director and I will stand firm, with passion and commitment, in taking the needs of this community to the CVRD and having them met. There is much work to do and no time to waste.”
Larry Jorginson said many people in the Valley, including Shawnigan Lake, have expressed concerns about the practices, expenditures and administration of the CVRD.
He said the CVRD was formed with the underlying premise that a large organization could provide necessary professional services to the various smaller communities in a cost-effective manner that these communities could not otherwise afford.
“But it has now evolved into being the problem for all of us,” he said.
“With general oversight and participation in improving Shawnigan Lake comes the responsibility of ensuring the proper and most cost effective use of our taxes. This, as everyone knows, has been woefully ignored repeatedly by previous directors. We taxpayers are treated like a limitless ATM.”
Jorginson said that at the CVRD level, it is the responsibility of the chief administrative officer to ensure that the entire organization is operating effectively, ensuring the most cost effective delivery of services for the residents and that the organization is structured efficiently to fulfill those responsibilities.
“He reports to the board of directors as a whole but must always serve the best interests of the residents,” he said.
“I will be encouraging our CAO to review the entire organizational structure. It is rare that one executive has the ability to conduct such an in-depth review in any government or corporation. This will require outside assistance and I am certain that there are enough retired executives in the Cowichan Valley that would be willing to offer their expertise for a stipend as a first step”.