Duncan Mayoral Candidate: Michelle Staples

Michelle Staples

Website: http://www.staplesformayor.ca

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  • Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to run in this election?
Let me introduce myself:
• Served seven years on Duncan City Council
• Worked in Community Development for 20 years in the Cowichan Valley. 
• A mother of a blended family
• Educated in Administration, Communications and Conflict Resolution. 

was inspired to run for mayor by words of encouragement from Mayor Kent. We are confronted by complex, multi-jurisdictional issues that are social and environmental in nature. People of all ages and needs are impacted by our decisions  youthseniors, families and businesses ownersam dedicated to uniting our voices to create solutions and actions that our grandchildren will be proud of

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

YES. Many years ago a comment that I heard stuck with me that Water would be the gold rush of the futureOver the past decade our watersheds have been impacted by many changes around us yet somehow are rarely part of the conversation when community planning and development decisions are being maderegional function is required to ensure plans address current and future water needs so that we don’t have to follow other communities in BC that have moratoriums new development because they impact our water tables, and water quantities and availability don’t meet current or future needs.

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

I have much to contribute to the affordable housing conversation but cannot answer at this time. If I am mayor, I will leave my ED position where I sit at diverse tables of community partners working together on complex issues like housing, the opioid crisis, and homelessness. Although I have a deep knowledge about solutions that work, as a councillor can only speak in general terms. I have paced the hallway outside council chambers wanting to bring the missing voice. As your mayor I would bring this voice to these complex social issues that are emerging for local government

  • How do you plan to work with other governments within the region, including local First Nations as well as provincial and federal governments?
First of all it's about Building Relationships and showing up, not just to cut a ribbon or when there is an issue, actually spending the time it takes to form relationships. Creating and commitment to a culture at City Hall and throughout the city of understanding and working together. Adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and working with Cowichan Tribes to teach us how to implement it. 
   
  • 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?  

More retirees and younger families are looking for places to call home. The housing crisis is undeniable and as a small city we must increasunits available through carriage houses, suites, densification. Leaders must address these impacts progressively by working with neighbouring communities to plan and regulate. We have to mandate better environmental standards for using alternate energy sources and water management (e.g., bylaws to allow surface discharge of grey water)Building community resilience is an important aspect of climate adaptation and I would love Duncan to be leaders in designing and implementing a strategy with its citizens and partners

  • 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 like to say with the regional growth strategy yet I know that that always seems to be an unpopular approach. Perhaps the best way would be to gather together all of the plant to me to these areas with a group of diverse people from each of these sectors including people who use an access and work in these areas and look at where they intersect and create a strategy that sets targets, identifies responsibilities and actions required to meet those targets. 

  • 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?

Water: Tough conversations are required to plan for storm management, drought, collection, protection and conservation. 

Affordable HousingSupport the goals that have been identified by local initiatives, be leaders in partnerships between service providers and local government, and be active and engaged at housing tables and neighbourhood planning

Planning for a Changing Climate: Projections for water table rise mean we must replace key infrastructure in affected areas. Approve new developments considering wherehow and costs =of infrastructureand environmental and social implications of current predictions for water table rises

We must mitigate the impacton both people and ecosystems

  • 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?

Consultation is not the work I would choose; communication, dialogue, working together, listening to people is the direction I would like to see us move. Open nights at city hall and at community halls where people can come out to ask questions, raise concerns, share ideas and identify needs and priorities, check in with people, they can access factual information and know that we are approachable and open. Being accountable works when we sit together and speak face to face, have the ability to clarify information, fact check, listen ask questions and have the opportunity to hear information directly from the source.