Salaries, water living top Ellis’s priorities

Currie Ellis

I spent my school years in Ladysmith, then off to U.B.C. for a degree in pharmacy. After graduation, I toiled in the hinterland of B.C. as a pharmacist. In 1978, I acquired a franchised drug store in Duncan. This very successful enterprise continued until 1989. I then returned to university in Victoria and back to U.B.C. to acquire a teaching certificate and degree in education.

I have resided in the Cowichan Valley for more than 35 years, and more specifically, in Cowichan Bay for the last 10 years.

My children are approaching middle age and are great citizens of Canada.

I have always been interested in the news and happenings of the day, and look forward to a greater involvement through a role in the CVRD.

Recreation has included an interest in long distance bicycling. I have cycled across Canada, most of Australia, as well as a few trips around the B.C. interior.

As well, I feel as though I am a citizen of the West Coast of northern North America. I have completed four trips up the Inside Passage in small boats. The changes witnessed in these trips has been dramatic. Incredible changes in wildlife, glaciers and float ice paint a dramatic picture of what is happening to our environment. These changes are also being observed in our Area D environment.

I now have the time and energy to devote to the bay and Valley, and look forward to this participation.

What issues concern you most and why?

I have been reading and studying in an effort to outline my platform, and where the CVRD should be heading. Then, I started walking our streets and knocking on doors.

After four days, it occurred to me that I am not here to bend our residents to my way of thinking. My job is to listen, and then listen some more. My study sessions have not produced a fraction of what is learned on the doorsteps. I will no longer be a "director" of Area D, but rather the conduit for all of the voters (directors) that I will represent — the residents are the true directors. Some know the issues intimately, and are living with them on a daily basis.

I own a house in Duncan, but choose to live on the water in Cowichan Bay. Those of us who live on the water are some of the best stewards of the bay — it is our backyard after all.

We have been waiting for a bylaw (3773) to outline how we can be better environmental citizens. Float home owners have been waiting for the opportunity to connect to the CVRD sewer system. This bylaw will allow float homes to acquire more permanency, and an easier process to sell their homes when desired. The values of their property should increase. They pay property taxes, but are denied most services.

I will talk about this bylaw and give my opinion. The bylaw was first proposed more than a year ago in an effort to implement our new official community plan.

Insufficient consultation with stakeholders led to a flawed bylaw. It was withdrawn and a new bylaw has reached second reading. A public hearing and vote has been delayed until after the November election. This current bylaw is also flawed due to a lack of proper consultation. I believe it will be delayed while it, once again, undergoes revisions.

In the meantime, we are delaying environmental improvements, and causing concerns in the floating community. My platform here is simple. Get on with it, but do it right.

My door knocking has also reinforced the great concerns for the spending habits of the CVRD. There are many aspects to this, but the citizenry are very concerned. Salaries and spending are weekly news stories. The next budget process needs to be treated with a great deal of scrutiny. Personally, I am alarmed at the rapid growth of CVRD expenditures. Spending growth simply cannot continue at its current rate. Taxpayers are being squeezed.

Finally, I have been trying to understand the myriad governments of our area. I will support efforts to simplify and increase efficiencies in respect to the governance of this regional district.

It seems that all we have to do is listen and use some common sense — along with a dose of logic. Thank you, and let’s all go vote on November 5, 12 or 15.

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