Sonia Furstenau is taking her desire and experience in community building to the next level as she declared intention to run for the Cowichan Valley Regional District board, representing Shawnigan Lake.
Furstenau has been prompted to run by one of Area B’s biggest issues in recent years: the fight against the dumping of contaminated soil in the watershed by South Island Aggregates.
"That’s been a hugely important fight for me to be a part of because it’s a fight for the future of our community," she said.
She would also like to see the community build on the cooperation and collaboration that has come out of the fight against the dumping.
"I love the people of this community," Furstenau said. "We need to take that momentum and turn it into a really positive vision for our community." She thinks her skills and expertise from working with two international community activist organizations, Results Canada and Oikocredit, along with the skills she’s learned as a teacher at Shawnigan’s Dwight International School campus will serve her well working with the community and the CVRD board and will enable her to bring a "global mindedness" to the job.
"What we’re doing in small communities has to be cognizant of what’s happening in the wider communities, both provincially, federally and globally," she said. "We’re facing some really serious threats with climate change in particular, and it’s essential that we’re working at a community level right now to address the consequences of climate change that we’re seeing very clearly in the Valley this summer."
She’d like to see Shawnigan Lake lead the way in localized economic development by starting a community investment fund.
Such a fund, which would see people make a direct financial investment in their community, could give residents much more control over the future of the area.
Furstenau is also a proponent of open and transparent government and says she’ll be campaigning to see a lot fewer closed door sessions at the regional district should she be elected.