Candidate for North Cowichan Councillor: John Koury

John Koury

Website: www.johnkoury.ca 

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

I live near Maple Bay. I was councillor from 2008 to 2014. I ran for mayor last time and fell short by about 200 votes. I am seeking office again to restore balance and confidence in local government for the people. Thank you for considering me as your council representative.

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

No. North Cowichan has excellent water management systems and will never run out of good clean water. NC has excellent professional staff who know water better than anyone around. It does not need a CVRD agency of unelected, appointed agents getting in the way of what NC does better. A new slate of directors is needed to rid the CVRD of the Watershed Board influence and let lead engineer Brian Dennison do his job in peace, properly with his inhouse team his provincial colleagues and independent advice as required.

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

No. One Cowichan friends: North Cowichan has ample land and capacity to manage its own housing affairs if political will allowed. It does not need a CVRD agency, arms length of government, interfering with municipal housing. North Cowichan should not support affordable housing in unincorporated rural areas. Jon Lefebure, Kate Marsh, Maeve Maguire, and Robert Douglas voted against every private high-density development to the brink of litigation. Now like-minded candidates want to tax and spend to build government housing, administered by unelected, appointed agents, to fix a crisis the anti development politicians caused in the first place.

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

North Cowichan is an autonomous incorporation under statute. NC Councillors have a fiduciary duty to the corporation entrusted to them by citizens. For nearly 150 years NC has worked productively with neighbours and levels of government to secure investment and cooperation for all to benefit. We need to grow the economy to give the gift of education, training and job opportunities in the private sector for citizens. The name "Cowichan" in North Cowichan is a reflection of respect we had toward Cowichan Tribes at the time of incorporation as we have today.    

  • 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?  

One Cowichan members living in North Cowichan and Duncan should not ever worry about water here. We got lots of the best water in the world and we manage it very well. My track record on council is excellent on environment protection. We established the Climate Change Committee, brought in soil removal bylaw, urban contain boundaries, massive flood protection investment, SMART growth principles. small lot subdivisions, sewer and water infrastructure upgrades, a modern Official Community Plan with sustainable development principles and modern Local Area Planning bylaws. That legacy will continue while ensuring swift approvals of good commercial and residential development.

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

Cowichan needs a construction boom. There is no such thing as unsustainable development inside the incorporated boundaries of North Cowichan. CVRD needs to end its practice of rural sprawl especially around NC's industrial lands. North Cowichan doesn't manage growth well because the average annual growth rate is less than 1% over 30 years. A better balanced council is needed to allow our planners and engineers the opportunity to manage growth properly. I am confident in staff's ability to do an excellent job expeditiously. Politicians do not manage, they conduct oversight.

  • 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?

1) Public Health Crisis: Need Public Health Crisis Action Plan, tough on crime against dirty dealers and help the addicted, sick and homeless now at crisis proportions.

2).Housing Crisis: We need a construction boom, homeowner rebates up to $1500 for new home and secondary suite construction. Affordable housing projects belong in municipalities not rural areas of the CVRD.

3) Economic Crisis: Slow growth is hurting Cowichan. Development and business investment is desparately needed to spawn education and training opportunities to sustain a growing economy. We need to attract business to create jobs to provide opportunity in the private sector.

  • 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?

North Cowichan uses best practices through a public process that leads to Local Area Planning bylaws such as University Village. This approach is comprehensive and has been used in Chemainus Crofton and Maple Bay area too. We need to continue the process to balance the needs of today with the prospects of tomorrow. We need to execute on well laid plans and resist opposition by NIMBY and special interest groups opposing development at all costs. North Cowichan needs to have less meetings not more while adhering to due process.