George Nielsen says he and his wife, Juleen, consider Duncan to be the best place to live in Canada, but he thinks some things could still be improved, which is why he is running for city council.
"I believe the citizens of Duncan have been overtaxed for a number of years," he said, noting that the City has run surpluses between $700,000 and $4.3 million over the last five years. "The 2013 financial statements show a total of almost $14 million in cash and short term investments alone. This is money that came from each one of the taxpayers of Duncan. You are all part-owners of the City of Duncan. This is money that you could have used to pay for groceries, or daycare, or for heating your home."
An accountant by trade, Nielsen is currently the controller for a group of companies that includes the Beverly Corners Marketplace, the Beverly Corners Liquor store, and a number of other businesses. He has also been involved in the community as treasurer of the Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and as chair of multiple United Way campaigns.
The amalgamation question that voters will be asked about on Nov. 15, and the potential for financial benefits, is also of interest to Nielsen.
"I am in favour of exploring amalgamation with North Cowichan further to see if
there are possibilities to save the taxpayers of the Valley money through reductions in duplications of services and the creation of efficiencies," he said.
Nielsen says he will bring a "commonsense, no-nonsense attitude" to council. He is also pro-development, but wants to pursue development in an intelligent way.
"I am for development that makes sense, both from a fiscal and environmental view," he said. "But I think we need to entice new businesses to the Valley to fill the current empty commercial spaces before developing very many new ones."