George Gates looks to lead

George Gates has lived in Chemainus for 10 years with his two children. He has a daughter attending Vancouver Island University and a son who has graduated from Chemainus Secondary School and is currently employed in Chemainus.

George has a Diploma of Technology from BCIT which he finished in 1999 and for the last nine years has owned and operated NuTech IT Solutions, a successful Information Technology company specializing in small business needs. In his previous career George holds a Red Seal in cooking and has owned and operated successful food and beverage operations. George has also had the privilege to expand his education with the Canadian Federation of Chefs & Cooks with the Certified Chef de Cuisine program.

George has and continues to serve his community in numerous elected and volunteer positions. When his children were younger he cooked monthly hot lunches at Maple Bay Elementary and Chemainus Elementary Schools. George has also sat on the PAC for his children’s school, as well as representing Chemainus Secondary School as the DPAC rep. George also enjoys helping at the Chemainus Neighbourhood House where he has volunteered to teach young people how to prepare and cook healthy foods.

George is active in the business community and currently sits on the board of directors for the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce as past president. He has also been a director, the vice president and president of the Chamber.

During his time on the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce he was instrumental in developing the Black Tie Awards and Gourmet Gala as well as being a key person in the development of the successful Cowichan Regional Visitors Centre. One of his many accomplishments was being the point person in bringing all five Cowichan chambers together to sign the five-chamber accord. George then led the way to ensure the five chambers had a voting seat on the Economic Development Commission of the CVRD, where he held the first seat.

Before moving to Vancouver Island George was also on the board of directors for the BC Chefs Association and was responsible for many advances for the food and beverage industry in the Lower Mainland.

George continues to build business in North Cowichan and has recently opened a retail computer store in the new Chemainus Village Square. This new store employs local people and serves the local community.

George is hopeful that the North Cowichan residents and the North Cowichan business community will give him the support he needs, and be elected to the North Cowichan council on Nov. 15.

What issues concern you most and why?

My vision is pretty straightforward. I am a businessman and family man in the Cowichan Valley, my strengths are in business and family. I do not want to reinvent the wheel, I just want to make sure the tire is not flat. Let’s createmotivate environmentally and fiscally sound business growth and ensure we have the services and energetic communities to practice our business in and raise our families in. When I am elected I can actually help achieve this, more than I already do as a private citizen.

Sustainable business growth needs to be done with environmental and fiscal considerations, not just “build it and they will come.” We need open doors for entrepreneurs and small businesses wanting to spend money here, but it needs to be done utilizing the spaces we have now, before creating more.

Watersheds, water supplyquality and local economy are only a few of the resources we need to manage well. We need to ensure as we grow we do it in an environmentally friendly way, making sure that local governments are managing these resources and have the ability to enforce the management of them.

I am an advocate for public consultation. I believe we need to have the forum to gather input from the communities. I also believe we should not do it over and over again. We need to ensure all the information is made available, do the research, and get all of the facts first. We need to present the information, get the valuable input from the communities and then act upon it. You can’t make everyone happy; that’s a reality. We need to ensure we ask everyone if they want input, we need to listen, and then we need to act.

I believe our tax rates are not out of line. I don’t believe we should be paying less tax, nor do I think they need to be higher without good cause. What I do want to investigate is what we are doing with our tax money and what services need to be addressed and in what priority. We live in an amazing place and we only have what we have because we pay taxes, and we need to continue to pay taxes. The question is, are they fair, are they spent wisely and for the betterment of all of our communities?

Being so active in the Cowichan Regional Visitors Centre has allowed me many discussions on tourism managementfunding.

Before we talk about funding tourism we should talk about who is managing tourism in the Cowichan. North Cowichan is a piece of the puzzle when it comes to tourism in this region. Let’s ensure we fund tourism, and it has its place in the plan, but more importantly let’s make sure we have the right group managing tourism.

I want to see one group in charge of tourism working with Vancouver Island Tourism and BC Tourism. Let’s find available tourism funding for communities that work together and promote together.

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