Candidate for Duncan City Councillor: Jenni Capps

Jenni Capps

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

A longtime Duncan resident, I've worked for small, locally owned businesses and nonprofit organizations in Duncan for the past nine years. As a young adult, I volunteered with Safe Youth Cowichan, a youth-led group focused on community safety solutions. This allowed me to work with local government and community partners and taught me much about affecting positive change. As a youth, I sat as Jr Mayor on the City of Duncan's Junior Council. My enthusiasm for local politics was deeply enriched by this experience. I'm an active volunteer for many causes and events. I am friendly, dependable, open-minded, and grateful for the opportunity to serve my community.

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

YES.I don’t think there’s any question about whether protecting our water is absolutely vital. This region has 58 aquifers and 17 unique watersheds, and we need to be proactive when it comes to protecting their health. I will be voting Yes for long-term water security.

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

YES. The housing crisis is at a critical point. I think the modest investment to ensure further housing funding is a wise decision that will ensure more types of housing options to suit different needs. Many people in the Cowichan Valley are “hidden homeless”, precariously housed, or living in inappropriate housing for their needs.  Some have said “housing is solely a provincial issue”, and I would argue that given the current housing crisis, all levels of government should be doing everything they can. I support the proposed bylaw and will be voting Yes.

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

Working together is paramount to the success of municipal government. In my opinion, we are currently poised for such success when it comes to working with Provincial, Federal, and First Nations leaders. Our current mayor & council in Duncan have built a positive relationship with Cowichan Tribes, but there is always more to be done to strengthen this relationship. Our MP and MLA have demonstrated their commitment to working with local government, and I plan to keep communications open and continue working together for the long-term prosperity of the entire region.

  • 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?  

The Drinking Water & Watersheds Protection Service is a tool we can use to enable ourselves to be strategic and proactive when it comes to water-related challenges from climate change. I also support the City of Duncan’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan, Tree Protection Bylaw, and Climate Action Charter Commitment, and think that we should think of all formal plans that relate to climate change as living documents, to be improved as we learn and keep up with modern climate science. Protecting and restoring our natural environment is very important to me.

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

I would suggest being very thoughtful when considering development, and ensuring development is done in a sustainable, responsible way. We must support our local business community so they can continue to employ local people, and ensure they’re successful enough to pay wages that allow employees to live here and enjoy the quality of life this region provides. Much of Duncan’s carbon emissions are from personal use vehicles, and I believe there is much to be said for improving walkability and alternate modes of travel.

  • 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?

Affordable housing, community safety, and environmental protection. For all of these, I think the answer is similar. There are so many experts in our community, both organizations and individuals. The most important thing we need to do is come together and listen to the advice of these experts. We must ensure we are implementing long-term, sustainable solutions, and working collaboratively to achieve a healthy community on all fronts.

  • 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?

Accountable, transparent governance is needed to restore trust in government. I work in hospitality because I love connecting with people, and would have the same attitude as councillor. I’m naturally friendly and approachable, and would make an effort as councillor to be available to discuss concerns. I enjoy community consultation, having participated in many projects that required gathering community feedback. There’s also much to be said for the role of social media for elected officials. I plan to use it as a tool to communicate, and especially to share with younger people what the role of a councillor is, and what I’m doing as an elected official.