In his own words: North Cowichan council candidate Robert Douglas
I was born and raised in North Cowichan and now live near Mt.Tzouhalem with my wife Ivette and daughter Lola. My family has deep roots in the Cowichan Valley, going back five generations. I’ve spent my entire life in this community and have no intention of living anywhere else.
I decided to run for office because I’m concerned about the long-term future of this community. Housing costs are becoming increasingly unaffordable, and every year there’s fewer and fewer decent paying jobs. Meanwhile, suburban sprawl continues to eat up farmland and forested areas, eroding the community’s rural character.
I would like to see North Cowichan do more to address these and other important issues in the community.
I have been active in the community for a number of years, and currently serve as Treasurer for the Cowichan Land Trust and Board Member for Volunteer Cowichan. I’m also an active member of the Council of Canadians.
Over the years I’ve been employed in various industries in the Cowichan Region and Vancouver Island, including time spent as a pulp mill worker, sawmill worker, construction worker, and most recently as a policy analyst with the BC government.
I graduated from the University of Victoria, where I studied politics and history, completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history, and a Master of Arts degree in history, with a focus on U.S.-Cuban relations.
I am running for North Cowichan Council because I would like to see local government do more to address the major challenges facing our community. I have identified 5 main issues that I would focus on if elected to office. Please share your ideas as I continue to develop my platform.
Encourage North Cowichan to take a more prominent role in increasing the affordable housing supply by implementing appropriate land use policies and bylaws.
Protect the affordable housing commitments in North Cowichan’s Official Community Plan (OCP) from amendments.
Adopt the recommendations of the Cowichan Region Affordable Housing Strategy, a locally produced document that recommends a number of actions for improving the supply of affordable housing.
Promote the concept of housing co-operatives, one of the most cost-effective models for affordable housing.
Implement Economic Development Cowichan’s Area Agricultural Plan, which establishes a goal of 45% local food production and recommends a wide range of actions to achieve this target.
Protect the food security components of North Cowichan’s Official Community Plan (OCP) from amendments.
Work closely with groups such as the Cowichan Green Community to ensure we develop a more resilient local food system.
Further the idea of urban agriculture, based on the system of organic gardens pioneered in Cuba.
Work with the CVRD to advance a green economic development strategy, with a focus on providing workers with decent-paying employment.
Encourage North Cowichan to invest in renewable energy production by establishing municipally owned utilities, for both internal use and external sales.
Work with local credit unions as partners in community economic development.
Introduce a “Buy Local” campaign to encourage residents and tourists to spend their money in locally owned businesses rather than big box retailers and large chain stores.
Encourage mixed use development.
Focus growth in existing communities.
Encourage well-designed and compact neighbourhoods where residents choose to live, work, shop and play in close proximity.
Ensure neighbourhoods have safe infrastructure for walking, cycling and transit.
Protect environmentally sensitive areas.
Promote the idea of green building.
Protect agricultural lands from development.
Ensure all land use planning decisions in the municipality are informed by the Cowichan Environment Commission’s 12 Big Ideas.
Work with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) to develop a regional energy plan that will recognize the reality of peak oil and recommend strategies to reduce energy consumption and promote renewable energy production.
Implement a municipal green building policy
Develop a green infrastructure program to improve management of stormwater runoff and contain winter flooding. This program would encourage the use of bioswales, pervious paving materials, green roofs, and other techniques to promote the natural infiltration of rainwater.