In her own words: North Cowichan council candidate Kate Marsh
I’m a 54-year-old grandmother, and I’ve lived in North Cowichan for 35 years.
The heart of my message is: "Communication is key."
We need respectful, two-way communication, where everyone feels important and listened to, if we are to build a resilient community.
I want your input, so I launched a campaign website in July -- www.katemarsh.ca – that includes a blog, and Facebook and Twitter links. So please follow my thoughts there -- and tell me the most pressing matters you see facing North Cowichan as a whole, or any individual issues you have. I want to help residents get problems solved.
I want to help Council engage people in a positive, proactive way rather than waiting to hear from them when they’re unhappy. After all, it’s our money that funds government at all levels -- so whenever possible, government should be responding to our needs and desires. That’s what it was created for in the first place.
The people of North Cowichan have a wealth of experience, insight and creativity -- and a vested interest in making this the best possible place to live. Your ideas need to be taken seriously.
For example, I like the Maple Bay Community Association’s idea to have the municipality notify neighbourhood associations when a zoning change or building project is proposed in their area. This is a cooperative, consultative approach. It makes local people a part of the process early on -- without adding red tape or costs, or delaying the review process. It’s the kind of ‘win/win’ thinking we need.
Look at how the Chemainus murals project infused new life into a town that was losing its industrial base. This idea, and the issuing of ‘Chemainus dollars,’ came entirely from local people. Crofton’s Seawalk is another example. They all show what creative things people can accomplish – when government listens, and acts as a partner
I know local politics – I’ve served two terms on the Cowichan School Board (mas Kathy Ross), managing a $ 42 million budget and creating the state-of-the-art Francis Kelsey School. I took time out from politics to raise my second family, and am now serving on the board of the Chemainus-Crofton Community Schools Association and on the Chemainus High School Planning Council. I've also been privileged to participate in the Regional Affordable Housing Directorate and to volunteer at Cowichan Valley Hospice, working one-to-one with clients and training fellow volunteers.
Since holding office, I’ve built a career leading workshops in personal and professional development and am widely recognized by my colleagues for my expertise in the art of listening.
I want our Council to be known for creativity and cooperation – not for logjams and lawsuits. In the last three years, North Cowichan’s legal bills have totaled more than $600,000. Spending our tax money on unresolved disputes is a shameful waste. If we can work together, as neighbours, everybody wins
Right now, we’re at a crossroads. We must focus our best energies on building what I call “real economic health.”
We need a broad-based, resilient local economy -- one that will survive. This means sticking to the ‘smart growth’ strategies in the new Official Community Plan. It means actively seeking and supporting a wide variety of sustainable small and mid-size businesses.
We need a more inclusive economy -- one that supports us all. This means attracting and keeping companies that pay liveable wages. All of us who work here have the right to live here.
That’s why I want North Cowichan to join other agencies, public and private, and our First Nations neighbours, to create middle- and low-income housing. For 40 years, our housing prices in BC have risen more than any other province, while wages (adjusted for inflation) have stagnated.
We need to be building homes for everyone – pensioners, new parents, single moms, first-job youngsters, folks with disabilities. I want our elders to live with dignity, and our children to be able to raise their families here.
We also need a self-sustaining economy -- one that creates wealth and keeps it. This means encouraging local food security, and promoting local industries that process and re-process our natural resources. We can’t just ship raw logs and fish – or the profits from our labor -- overseas.
And in every decision, we have to balance growth with keeping taxes affordable. We have to balance the rights of future generations with the needs of today.
Of all the places in Canada to live, North Cowichan is one of the most desirable. If anyone can draw innovative green businesses, and entrepreneurs who want to be long-term contributors, it’s us. We can create a broad-based, resilient, inclusive economy that helps us all flourish -- with a wide variety of liveable-wage jobs, affordable housing, an effective transit system, local food security and fair taxes invested wisely. Working together, we really can make this the best possible place to live – for everyone here.
I intend to help make it happen. Join me.
Contact me at: