School buy prompts candidate

Tom Hockin may not have much political experience in the Cowichan Valley, but he brings a long history in municipal government to his bid to represent Area G at the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Hockin served for years on the regional district board and school board, among other political roles, when he lived on Haida Gwaii.

He initially had no plan to enter municipal politics here in Cowichan, but said he was prompted to run by the decision of current director Mel Dorey to buy the old Mount Brenton School property.

"I believe the community was not fully in favour of [the purchase] because of the unfunded liability of the building," Hockin said. "I just felt that Mel Dorey overstepped his duties as electoral director."

He objects to the purchase because he said the school building needs too much expensive remediation to be useful.

"Now we’re stuck with that huge hundreds of thousands of dollars to either demolish or repair the school," he said, calling the building a white elephant.

Hockin said he believes such expenditures, and those on capital projects, should not be made without getting the express consent of the electorate through referendum.

He’s also concerned about the stability of Saltair’s water source at the Stocking Lake Reservoir.

He said he’s concerned that they share it with Ladysmith, and that the nearby town has been known to use more than their share and he’s worried it will eventually not leave enough for Saltair.