Shawnigan Lake – Re: Former resident weighs in on Shawnigan election I am a current resident of Shawnigan Lake.
I have been a member of the Shawnigan Advisory Planning Commission since February 2013. The Advisory Planning Commission receives applications for development and provides a community perspective in its recommendation to the CVRD board for consideration in their decisions on the applications.
More recently, I have been participating in the south sector liquid waste management planning committee, a committee of technical and community representatives to provide input to the plan for liquid waste management in South Cowichan. I have worked a lot with Dir. [Bruce] Fraser over this time and have seen firsthand the great contribution he has made to our community from innovative approaches, open and transparent communication, and community participation. He has been an educator and facilitator to me and others who have participated. We have worked to make more objective decisions and better contributions to the community. I have learned of the issues that contribute to board decisions but are not included in board meetings and discussions. They are part of the complexity of the job managed by an area director every day.
Now we need someone who can take us to the next level in community planning. We need someone with a positive and constructive vision for the community and with a focus that is directly aligned to our priorities and concerns as a community. We need someone who will use our current foundation of work and advance our progress on watershed protection, economic development, governance issues, and positive and constructive community participation. Sonia Furstenau is someone who understands our community priorities and concerns and will do this for us.
We need someone who can negotiate with all stakeholders (often at provincial levels), advocate for us on governance issues, and work in a positive way with CVRD staff. Collaboration and cooperation are essential to increase community participation, build a better vision, and influence board level outcomes for Shawnigan. Some of our issues have been broadly political with the legal battles against contaminated soil dumping and land use governance with the province – these issues will require ongoing advocacy strength to be successful. Sonia Furstenau is the only candidate equipped to advocate for us in this context.
Sonia Furstenau has already been a strong advocate for us in media communications battling contaminated soil dumping and attending Environmental Appeal Board hearings. She has the background in advocacy to continue to manage the complex political issues surrounding governance issues (in this case, with the province). Sonia has also directly concerned herself with our priorities and concerns as a community while she works, plays, and keeps her heart in the future of Shawnigan Lake.
Overall, we need leadership that deal with differences diplomatically and choose a winning approach every time to achieve the best outcome. This requires a positive focus on the right issues and the background to advocate for us in all stakeholder relationships. This also helps bring our community together. Sonia has demonstrated her ability to do this for Shawnigan and is increasingly receiving the understanding and support of the community for her positive and constructive approach. I look forward to seeing her as our next Area B director.