Candidate for Duncan City Councillor: George Nielsen

George Nielsen

Website: https://www.votenielsen.com

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  • Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to run in this election?

I have been a professional accountant for 30 years, working in managerial positions for Country Grocer, Thrifty's, and Island Savings Credit Union,  and have also been a real estate agent with RE/MAX for the last two years. This year, I am also the President of the Duncan Kinsmen. In the past, I have been the treasurer for the Chamber of Commerce. I decided to run because I felt that my skills and experience could be an asset to the City of Duncan when making financial decisions, budgeting, etc.

  • Do you support the Drinking Water & Watersheds Protections Service bylaw referendum?  

YES. I support a democratic process to vote on an issue. Personally, I am in favour of something that would bring about action on raising the level of the weir as I believe water scarcity is going to be an ongoing and growing problem in the future.

  • Do you support the Cowichan Housing Association Service Establishment bylaw? 

No. While I will support action to increase affordable housing in the area, I would rather that the initiatives for Duncan be based in Duncan.  

  • How do you plan to work with other governments within the region, including local First Nations as well as provincial and federal governments?

Cooperatively and as part of a team effort with mayor and council.     

  • One Cowichan supporters have expressed concerns about climate change, especially local impacts on our water resources. What local climate change mitigation and/or adaptation strategies would you support if elected?  

Raising the weir, programs aimed at residents collecting and storing water from the winter, encouragement of use of alternative energy and fuels rather than oil and gas.

  • How do you propose managing growth sustainably in the Cowichan Region (e.g. transportation, environmental/agricultural protection, land-use, housing, cost of living)?

I was in favour of amalgamation between North Cowichan and the City of Duncan and its was partly because it would have lead to better management of growth. Since that did not happen, I believe better connections and communication have to be developed between all levels of government. We need to view ourselves as all living in the same Valley and all having to cope with the same problems that result from growth. Traffic does not magically stop when it crosses the border from the CVRD or North Cowichan into Duncan

  • What do you consider the three most pressing issues facing local government and the one most important thing local government should do on each one?

Homelessness/lack of affordable housing, issues relating to drug use, and the looming replacement and repair costs due to aging infrastructure. Really, the most important thing that can be done on each is to create some action and move forward with some possible creative solutions to each one. Regarding homelessness and the lack of affordable housing as well as the drug issue, the Valley needs to work together and work from compassion. In terms of infrastructure, some of the money that has been lying around in reserves needs to be spent to ensure that essential things like roads, bridges, and water systems do not fail.

  • Our citizen surveys indicate a desire for more consultation and accountability between elected officials and their constituents. If elected, what would your approach be to those issues?

I would have an open-door policy. You could talk to me anytime, any place about issues that concern you. I would like to see constituents come forward not only with problems but, their thoughts on possible solutions. It's a two-way street. If there is more consultation desired, be prepared to come forward and present your issues--as well as your proposed solutions. Accountability is almost a given in this age of no privacy but I fully support it. Consultation needs to be structured though and a timeline must be in place to ensure that action is the result, not just endless rounds of discussion.