What are the key issues? Survey aims to stir Cowichan Valley voters

People should care about municipal government, and municipal politicians should care about the top priorities of their constituents.

Taking aim at making both of those things happen, One Cowichan launched a survey last week to gauge local opinion on a range of issues in anticipation of the municipal elections set for this fall.

"It’s really good to know what issues people most care about," said Rosalie Sawrie, a One Cowichan organizer. "Then seeing how candidates stand on those issues."

This can help people decide who they want to vote for.

The results of the survey will be compiled into a community platform that the group will use to assess candidates and engage voters.

The survey questions cover the gamut from land use to taxes to municipal waste to energy debates.

There is also the opportunity for people to bring up issues that are not on the survey.

"Politics is too important to be left just to politicians," said Evelyn Hunter, Lake Cowichan team member. "Citizens have a lot of ideas and opinions that candidates need to be made aware of."

But people also need to do their part and vote. Traditionally, voter turnout for municipal elections is woefully low, with only about a third of Cowichan Valley residents casting their ballots.

To try to change this status quo, One Cowichan will have members going door to door this fall encouraging people to vote. They’ll be armed with the community platform, to let people know why it’s important for them to head to the voting booth.

"We’re directly affected every day with what our councils decide," Sawrie said. "We’ll be out talking to our neighbours and building a bandwagon that ends up at the voting booth."

Sawrie said they’ve had a good response to the survey so far and it remains open until Sept. 17.

The community platform will be released around Oct. 1. The survey can be found at www.one cowichan.ca