David Slade

David Slade – Candidate for Director CVRD Area C Cobble Hill           www.davidslade.ca      

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

I have lived my entire life in the South Cowichan.  I worked in our local family Business Drillwell Enterprises for 40 years, served 23 years with the Mill Bay Fire Dept. and 11 years with the Cowichan Watershed Board among many other community service roles.  I now have 7 grandchildren growing up in South Cowichan and I am alarmed by the lack of attention being given to our fragile and failing environmental support systems. Action on climate change has been largely "off the radar" for local government and I want to change that.

The climate science is clear - we need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 45% from 2005 levels by 2030 to address the devastating climate impacts (heat waves, fires, floods, droughts) we face. What priority actions to reduce GHG emissions locally will you advocate to get local government on course to meet that 45% reduction by 2030, less than 7 ½ years from now?

While many of the "big picture items" are in the hands of senior government, local government can have considerable influence.  I would advocate for improved public transit options, expanded parks and trails with emphasis on active transportation for bikes and walking, banning fossil fuel in new residential construction and accelerating the adoption of the Clean BC building step code towards net zero energy construction.

Transportation, mostly in private cars and trucks, is reported to be responsible for 72% of GHG emissions in the Cowichan Valley. What three strategies to reduce emissions from transportation, while also supporting local people getting where they need to go, would you work to implement?

I would work hard to get an active transportation corridor along the length of the E and N rail bed to provide safe biking and walking between our communities and benefit commuters, hikers and tourism. I’d work to improve our public transit options so they actually serve the needs of people like myself who’d like to use the buses. I’d support efforts to improve charging infrastructure for electric cars and electric bikes throughout our communities and to make our roads safer for those who walk and bike or would like to walk and bike on the often-treacherous road shoulders. 

We’re not only in a climate crisis, we’re in multiple overlapping crises, including affordable housing, homelessness, and the opioid overdose crises. If elected to local government, what interconnected solutions would you advocate to address these social and environmental crises in the Cowichan Valley?

We need more housing stock, period. But what we need most is many more affordable options for rentals and home ownership.  I would work to find ways that would allow people to live "legally" in tiny homes or RV's while searching for more permanent housing.  I would work with developers to increase density and increase the number of homes with rental or "granny" suites.  I would support expanding efforts to accommodate homeless people in the very modest government funded housing such as the demonstration projects in Duncan and other communities.

The Cowichan Valley is experiencing increasing climate-related cycles of drought and flooding in our watersheds, as well as other damage to natural ecosystems and farmland caused by development pressures. These trends threaten our salmon and our food security. What actions must local government take to better protect our watersheds and drinking water, as well as increase local food production and food security? What protections should local government put in place?

The CVRD, at its last full meeting before the elections, introduced a Climate action and adaptation strategy with a fulsome plan for climate change adaptation and steps for mitigation of GHG emissions.  While the plan was approved by the majority, 5 elected officials voted against it. Stronger support is needed at the CVRD table. I fully support the implementation of this strategy as well as increasing support for the Cowichan Watershed Board and multiple other stewardship groups that are doing amazing work in protecting and restoring ecosystems all across the CVRD regions.

Emissions from buildings are second only to transportation emissions here in the Cowichan Valley. Local groups working together on climate change solutions have asked all five of our local governments to commit to getting fossil fuel emissions - gas and oil - out of our built environment. Do you support this move, and what next steps would you advocate local government take to achieve this?

I absolutely support a ban on fossil fuels in new construction be implemented as soon as possible. Heat pumps are not only the most efficient way to heat buildings, they also offer cooling options that could have saved the lives of 600 BC Residents who died during the heat dome almost two years ago. The Clean BC building step code allows local government the option of accelerating the move towards net zero energy buildings.  I would support such a move in the CVRD.

Most of our local governments have either, like North Cowichan, recently approved a new Official Community Plan (OCP) or are in the process of updating or harmonizing their OCP (CVRD) with stronger social and environmental directions for our Cowichan communities. How would you support the OCP approved for your community in moving forward, including implementing the bylaws needed?

I fully support the modernizing of our OCPs and the stronger social and environmental measures that they include. Protecting the rural nature of our region, while focusing the growth that is coming in densified village cores must be part of our strategy, but we must also invest in protecting our forests and creating parks and protected areas for both our growing population and for the natural environment and wildlife that is being stretched to the breaking point.

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?

Climate Change:  We need to prepare for the changes coming, many of them already visible and expected to get worse.  Climate Change Again:  We need to do our part to reduce our GHG emissions and show what is possible as leaders, rather than sit back and blame other countries for what they aren’t doing.  Environment:  We need to stop destroying the natural support systems we all need to survive.  Protecting ancient forests, improving forest practices, greater protection for riparian areas, wetlands and estuaries and increasing the land base that is protected from logging and development are all necessary and urgent. 

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

Through my 40 years of local business experience, my 23 years with the Mill Bay Fire Dept., my 11 years on the Cowichan Watershed Board, and my many other community engagements, I bring a network of positive and mutually respectful relationships with First Nations, government at all levels, stewardship and community groups and the general population of the CVRD.  I plan to nurture and expand these relationships that will assist me in being an instrument of positive change in local government that will help make our region better, safer, more resilient, and more sustainable than it has ever been before.