Officially Sworn In – Work Begins – Results of Poll Questions

10801595_10152550419101314_6415423980032421343_nHi all,

It has been a busy couple weeks already since election night.  Council has been attending lots of training sessions to get oriented to the city staff and procedures and our General duties and there is lots more to come.  I’m going to keep writing on this page so you can know what’s happening as I go along on this journey with you and council.

The Swearing In Ceremony

I'm just glad I managed to pronounce "pe-cu-ni-ary" correctly!

I’m just glad I managed to pronounce “pe-cu-ni-ary” correctly!

It really hit home last night when we were led in by Inspector Richards in full red serge.  The Oath of Office that I pledge to you and all citizens of Port Alberni through the Justice of the Peace talks about ensuring that in all matters with council I act with integrity in the best interest of all citizens of Port Alberni, and without conflict.  It is so simple and common sense.  This is my number one goal and I believe our entire council truly has the best interests of the City in their hearts.


Committee Work Work Work!

… or is that committee, committee, commitee work! The main business of council last night was to announce and create committees. Every motion last night passed unanimously. I am pretty sure that won’t happen again until the next inaugural meeting in 4 years. :) Committee work is really the meat and bones of getting things done in the City so I’m really excited that I will be participating on a number of committees.

  1. Audit Committee: (3rd Monday every 3 months starting February 23)
    • This committee goes over the City’s books, expenses and general the funds moving in and out of the City.   
  2. Advisory Planning Commission: (Monthly – 3rd Thursday starting January 15)
    • This committee deals with zoning applications and other land use issues affecting the City.
  3. ACRD Transportation Committee: (Called on request)
    • This is a regional committee with many stakeholders involved that has been taking the lead in advocating for better transportation links to and from the City and region including lobbying for the Horne Lake Connector.
  4. Alberni Valley Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness:
    • This is a very important committee in our community dedicated to tackling homelessness and mental health issues affecting our residents and those in need.

Other councillors will be on these committees too of course but unfortunately I didn’t bring my copy of all of the appointments with me this morning so I won’t try to rely on my rather foggy memory, but I will post a picture of the list later today.

You can find the new schedules for more of the committees on last night’s agenda. The other very important appointment made was to the Regional District board.  Mayor Ruttan and Councillor McLeman will be representing the City there with the rest of Council acting as alternates.

There were also 4 new and very important standing committees created last night!

  • Food Security and Climate Change
  • Seniors Advisory
  • Youth Advisory
  • Mclean Mill Advisory

City Staff will be preparing the terms of reference and other details for those committees for Council in the coming weeks.

Here is the full listing of committees and appointments.  Of course they may be subject to change over time and please contact the City for the most up to date information.

Council Appointment List - 2014-2015(Dec1_14) Council Appointment List - 2014-2015(Dec1_14)2

 


Results of the Campaign Poll Questions!

And last but not least, I wanted to publish the results of the poll questions I asked during my campaign to visitors of this website.  I hope to continue to do that in future and to encourage the City to do so on its own web presence as well.  Everyone likes a poll!

Here are the results of the questions:

  1. “How do we cross Rogers Creek? (Cost are only estimates based on reports)”
    • Total Votes: 105
    • 11 (10.5%) – Straight and tall bridge strategy (est. $14 million)
    • 16 (15.2%) – Long dip and short bridge (est. $7 million)
    • 37 (35.2%) – Foot and bike bridge only ($?)
    • 41 (39.0%) – No Change
    • The non-binding City Election question ‘ “Are you in favour of a 10th Avenue crossing from the north end of 10th Avenue to the junction of Cherry Creek Road and Johnston Road for a cost of $5 million?”  Yes or No’ failed to pass by a vote of 2388 (41.3%) For and 3389 Against (58.6%). Total votes 5777.  So this seems to confirm the informal polling done here as well that there does not seem to be a strong appetite for expensive road infrastructure.  It might be good for the City to investigate whether residents would be willing to invest in a more affordable foot and bike bridge solution or if there simply is no point in pursuing another crossing at all.
  2. What is your #1 burning City issue? (in Alphabetical Order)
    • Total Votes: 70 (People could only vote for one)
    • 5 (7%) – 10th Avenue Crossing
    • 7 (10%) – Bicycle Lanes and Trails
    • 3 (4%) – Canal Beach
    • 0 – Climate Costs (CO2/Energy/Rebuilding)
    • 1 (1%) – Environmental Degradation In and Around the City
    • 4 (6%) – Fire Department
    • 11 (16%) – Industrial Job Creation
    • 5 (7%) – McLean Mill
    • 3 (4%) – New Pool
    • 1 (1%) – Pay of Councillors
    • 1 (1%) – Road Repairs
    • 2 (3%)- Small Business Growth
    • 20 (29%) – Tax Rates
    • 7 (10%) – Other (add a comment!)
    • There were a lot of choices and not a lot of votes so of course the results may be a little skewed.  However, I think it still sends a pretty big message.  People are very concerned about being able to live affordably and comfortably and work in our City.
  3. “I support a future vision of entire plywood mill site as expanded Beach Park for people”
    • Total Votes: 46
    • 33 (71.6%) – Yes
    • 13 (28.2%) – No
    • This is a very small sample size of course but it is still a strong result.  I do hope and believe the council will continue to work towards make the Canal Beach area better and better for City residents.  One of the first orders of business will be to address the motion left on the table by the last council on the signing of an indemnity agreement with WFP.
  4. “Can the City encourage CO2 and Energy reductions without raising taxes?”
    • Total Votes: 20
    • 14 – Yes
    • 6 – NoPerhaps this should be one big question for the new “Food Security and Climate Change Committee”?
  5. “Do you trust your local politicians?”
    • Total Votes: 31
    • 11 – Yes
    • 20 – No
    • A somewhat discouraging but perhaps a predictable result, and hopefully not personal.  Lets work on that! ;)
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Thank You So Much! We did it! I’m In! Now the work begins.

I don’t think it will quite hit me until the first orientation meetings this week…. but I am extremely honoured and excited to have succeeded in this campaign.  I will be keeping this website and my Facebook page up so that you can continue to access me through it and find out about the issues happening in Port Alberni.  My own greatest pleasure is to give people information that they find useful, whether it is about computers and video projects at my work at VIU, weather info at Alberniweather.ca, or now city info as one of your councillors for Port Alberni, that will be my biggest goal and I am very excited to have the opportunity to do so,

So! With that in mind, here is the info of the day!

Election Results!

Click the link to see results from all communities in BC including the ACRD and Port Alberni.

2014 results part12014resuktspart2 Here are the results for Port Alberni. It was a very close race as was to be expected when you have 22 excellent candidates running for only six spots.

I am very excited to be working with what I think is an excellent team of councillors and Mayor.  And I want to thank John Douglas and Wendy Kerr especially for their great work in their time on council and as Mayor.

The road bridge question failed by 57% voting against. I Hope that means it is time to talk about a much more affordable and potentially beautiful foot and bike bridge instead!

Here are tACRD2014he results from the ACRD:

Congratulations to all the candidates who ran.

Also important is the referendum on the Sproat Lake Marine patrol, which City and all Valley residents participated in.  It passed easily.

And finally, the School District.

Sd70 results2014That’s it folks!  Those are your elected officials in the Alberni Valley that will represent you for the next 4 years.

I am very honoured to be one of those select few.  Please, stay engaged, keep asking and demanding questions.  Demand them of me and all of our elected officials. Democracy isn’t just voting on voting day.  It has to be a Full part of our lives every single day for it to work best.

Thanks you for sending me on this journey.  Four years from now, we will see if I’m still thanking you ;) but I know we will be in an even better place than we are now.

Happy Sunday Port Alberni!

 

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Will you vote on Wednesday?

Your first opportunity to vote in an advance poll is Wednesday November 5th! So exciting!

I will likely be voting sometime around 9AM. The Advance Poll for City voters will be at City Hall from 8AM to 8PM.

If you can’t make it on general voting day, don’t hesitate to take advantage of these advance days!  And remember: As long as you live in the City, whether you own or rent, you can vote.  If you live outside the City but own property inside city limits, you can vote too.

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And make sure you drag a friend along! I would love to have you vote for me, but no matter who you vote for, please vote! Democracy is a beautiful and still rare thing in our world.

Oh, and check out Shaw TV for the Mayors debate and the Councillors statements, including mine of course. They should have it on their Youtube channel soon too if you don’t subscribe to Shaw.

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Bike racks at 6PM. Foot/bike bridge and Nanaimo foot ferry at 7PM

Just a quick note that if you are in support of more bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure in our City today might be a good day to head to City Hall.

At 6PM there will be an official public hearing on whether the Official Community Plan should be amended to require bike racks or bike parking facilities on all new and existing multi-family and commercial businesses in the city.

Here is the full handout from the City.

My opinion: if we are serious about encouraging people to get out of their cars then this is a logical first step to make it easier for people to use their bike to get to and from work or to do their business in town.

What do you think? Get to the meeting tonight at 6PM to register your opinion!

7PM:

As usual, there is tons on the Agenda tonight at City Council.

First there will be the presentation by John Mayba for a foot and bike bridge to cross the Rogers Creek ravine near 10th Avenue or the Multiplex.

My Opinion: this is something that really makes sense. It need not be an idea that competes with that of a road bridge, however, in the grand scheme of things that we can afford and that would provide a real new benefit to our city, I believe a foot and bike bridge spanning the ravine would make for a huge improvement in the walkability and bike ability of our City. Unlike a car that only needs a few minutes to make the strip down Gertrude to get to the other side of town, on a bike or by foot, the ravine poses a huge obstacle for people to go around at great cost of time and energy.

This should be something that should be very affordable as well and also able to be contributed to by volunteers. There could also be big benefits to linking in to the walking paths and trails within the ravine. Heck, it could even be a little tourist attraction to lure people off Johnston.

Second. IMG_4960-0.JPG

There is a letter of support being requested by the City of Nanaimo to support the Island Ferries foot passenger service between downtown Nanaimo and Downtown Vancouver. With massive BC Ferry costs, this is an idea whose time has finally come.

And with the Island Ferry facility setting up shop right beside the railyard in Nanaimo it provides an exceptional opportunity to have visitors and commuters use the service to get all over the Island including here in Port Alberni.

If you were a tourist from Ontario flying into Vancouver and wanted to see Long Beach, would you consider taking the foot ferry to Nanaimo and hopping right on the train to Port Alberni to be your home base? It sure would cut car rental costs and it could be a game changer for our Coty in the summer months.

Come make your voice heard tonight!

Chris

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Social Planning Council Questions

The Alberni Valley Social Planning Council sent these questions out to candidates last week.  With their permission, I’ve reproduced them here with the answers I provided.  Our poor, and mentally and physically challenged, and especially our disadvantaged children need support.

1.     What ideas do you have about how to increase food security for low income people? What about for the general population in times of emergency?

Local food has been a growing trend in the past decade and I think this will only keep growing in future.  I am hopeful that as this trend grows that we see more and more of this local food making its way to the local food banks and into the homes of low income families and people.  The Gleaning project run by Heather Shobe through the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society Food Group has been doing this for a number of years.  I’d love to see more partnerships formed between our two very successful farmers market and the social services in our town as well.

As for times of emergency, again, the local food movement is providing some momentum that I believe we can latch onto.  While it is a Regional rather than specifically City issue, the ACRD agricultural committee and the City and ACRD in general need to make development of our agricultural sector in the Valley a top priority.  The best way to be prepared is to have as much food production as we can right here in the Valley.  We have significant amounts of protein being produced by local beef, and pig operations.

We have significant amounts of year-round vegetables as well.  Perhaps there could be a registry made whereby farmers and home growers could sign up with the Emergency Planning department of the City/ACRD and be registered as possible sources of food in the event of a disaster that cut us off from the rest of the Island for a significant amount of time.  These issues will also come to a head as we deal with climate change as well.

2.     Would you support the development of policy on mental health issues in conjunction with the regional government? What would that look like?

Yes.  While I am not directly involved with people with mental health issues in our community, I do have some experience with policies that deal with people with all manner of disabilities at my workplace at Vancouver Island University.  These policies not only provide direction to me as staff but also provide excellent support for the students.

I honestly do not know what such a policy or framework might look like for people with disabilities, or specifically mental health issues, in the City or Regional District but I would be very supportive of exploring that, learning about it and making it happen so that all of our residents have an equal opportunity to participate in our society.

3.     Do you have any plans for policies on ending child poverty in the valley?

I would approach child poverty from the direction of trying to create enough employment in the Valley to ensure that the families of those children can live on a reasonable income.  We need to provide families with resources so that they can get back into school or other training without going into debt.  We also need as a city to encourage a much wider range of businesses to setup shop in our valley so that once their schooling is done there are options for jobs here in the Valley.

I see great opportunity to bring in small businesses like tech sector, consulting, and other professional services.  Healthcare and education remain huge employers and we need to increase the number of facilities in our community in order to satisfy the demand and to create those jobs that will lift people out of poverty.  Finally, for the children directly I would advocate strongly for the city to keep supporting local daycares and literacy programs  and to lobby the provincial and federal governments to bring funding back into those critical areas.

4.     In what ways are you committed to creating social housing on City owned land in partnership with provincial agencies and/or local agencies?  What other incentives would you like the City to offer developers willing to build affordable housing units?

I believe there are many locations around the city that could be used for social housing.  The new alberni shelter on the VIHA property also needs to finally break ground.  I will continue to advocate for the government to provide the funds to do that.  The City needs to redevelop its waterfront and its uptown and downtown areas.

These could be very attractive areas to develop if the stranglehold on our waterfront from industry was loosened.  If and when they are redeveloped, the City could offer tax breaks to developers that included affordable housing units in their new developments.

5.     Do you believe the City should employ a social planner?

I would be wiling to investigate the hiring of a social planner.  In general, the City needs to do a better job of  taking into account all aspects of its decision making, from economic, to environmental, to social impacts.  This needs to happen in all departments in the City as well as at the Board level on Council.

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