Carolyne Austin

Town of Lake Cowichan Candidate



Q1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and why you are running.

A: I am running as I believe I can be an asset to the community in the capacity of town councillor.  I have spent the last 30 years working and volunteering in the community and worked with the municipality on several committees.  I was a member of the Gateway Tourism Committee, Community Economic Adjustment Committee and Advisory Planning Committee to name a few.  I was also a founding member and organizer of the Great Lake walk and served on the Board for 6 1/2 years.  I spent several years as a director with the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce and managed the Info Centre for 5 years and on the board of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-op for 8 years.


Q2. The community survey results placed a high priority on sustainability, in particular on protecting our watersheds, water supply and water quality, as well as on creating a more sustainable local economy. If elected, please describe what your approach would be to those issues.

A: I'm not certain if everything is in my power, but I am an advocate of protecting our water quality.  They should not be logging near water sheds, but when the land is private I am not sure what we can do about it at the municipal level.  It may be a Provincial problem where we have to lobby to get the protection necessary.
I believe agriculture is an important component in sustaining the local economy.  As a avid gardener I believe we all need to try and grow our own food and to support local farmers.  There should be grants to help build more commercial greenhouses to grow vegetables/fruit during the winter season as we should not be depending on California for our vegetables/fruit.


Q3. The survey results indicated citizens want to see more consultation and accountability between elected officials and their constituents. If elected, please describe what your approach would be to those issues.

A: My approach is to have an open community forum and be available at least once per week to talk with constituents.  The town already has a few open town meetings per year, but they are poorly attended.  Anyone can attend the regular Tuesday meetings as well, but I think we need more.  People need to be informed and the mayor and councillors need to know what concerns their constituents have.


Q4. What is your position on municipal tax rates and the corresponding level and allocation of services?

A: I'll have to do more research on that point.  Some say our tax rates in this area are way too high for what we have.  I know people don't like taxes going up and they see too much money being spent on items they think are not necessary.  I believe we need to do a review and make certain we are covering all the bases and not wasting money.  The taxpayer need to believe they are getting what they pay for.


Q5. What is your vision for this area, and how would getting elected help achieve it?

A: I love Lake Cowichan and do not want it to just be a bedroom community.  My vision for the town of Lake Cowichan is to encourage more small businesses to relocate here, to develop some light industrial property, to see affordable housing established for young families, single parents and seniors and a senior care facility.  If I am elected I will do my best to research all these items and see if we can get the ball rolling on as many as possible.


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