Candidate for North Cowichan Councillor: Kate Marsh

Kate Marsh (incumbent)


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

Mother and grandmother 42 yrs here, 2 term school trustee, 2 term councillor, passionate about the valley and the environment, good connections with First Nations, local non-profits. Want to keep making the valley more sustainable and healthy for all living things. Cowichan 2050 acknowledges that emerging and contemporary planning and governance challenges are often best addressed through the creation of cross-sectoral coalitions that can facilitate coordinated planning and action at multiple scales (neighbourhood, local, regional etc). I support the Regional Collaboration Framework and would like to contribute to its continued unfolding.

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

YES. Across the region, our watersheds face increasing pressures due to development, contamination, depletion, increased population and climate change. There are many local groups working collaboratively to address these issues, including the Cowichan Watershed Board, which is co-chaired by the CVRD chair and Cowichan Tribes Chief. This referendum will inform and enhance strategic decision-making about growth and land use as we seek the best locations for manageable growth into the future, and will ensure the protection of these watersheds, which are integral to our communities. Watersheds don't stop at municipal borders.

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

YES. We know that we are short 750 affordable units across the region now, with another 800 in shortfall expected by 2020. CVRD needs a service to leverage the housing fund from the provincial/federal governments (which in part come from our taxpayers) Senior government want local government to collaborate, with land, or dollars. CVRD doen't own land except parks. They can't accept grant money on behalf of any of the electoral areas without a service. Nor bequeaths of land. Electoral areas need affordable housing too, in their villages. 

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

I support Cowichan 2050 and want to work regional partners on strategies to address our challenges collectively. I've made good connections at the province and with Island health, done a lot of work on reconciliation with our local First Nations and been involved with Understanding the Village. I am keen on any opportunity to partner with senior and neighboring governments on what's best for Cowichan, in health, social problems and the environment. Continue networking at conferences, including Renewable Cities where leaders around the world share their best practices. I hope to help First Nations share their knowledge and be partners in regional decision-making.

  • 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?  

MNC Environmental Advisory Committee chair -- we advice staff/council. The Committee would like to work collaboratively on efforts to address localized impacts of climate change, the health of our lakes, and the watershed in general. The Watercshed Board and other groups have the expertise to help is with these challenges. I'd like to see adoption of the Energy Step Code. Regional adaptation measures and collaboration make sense. Watersheds and ecosystems don't respect municipal boundaries. Cowichan 2050 suggests collaborative, region-wide climate vulnerability and risk assessment and partnership with like minded groups would be valuable.

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

The CVRD has undertaken the identification of Environmentally Sensitive Areas with an aim to protect and enhance Cowichan's biologically rich ecosystems. A regional conservation strategy would improve connectivity between ecosystems and allow for species movement between them. Harmonizing OCP's so new growth happens in core villages, addressing conservation & stewardship of ecosystems, farmland, and land-use could manage growth sustainably in the valley.

Bike lanes, trails, public transit, perhaps a type of modo share.

Housing and cost of living need a question of their own. I support working with local experts and senior government to get some built.

  • 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. Harmonizing OCP's to prevent further sprawl, smart growth principles, protect ecosystems, watersheds and drinking water. Championing these at muni and CVRD if appointed.

2. Attract green livable wage jobs in agriculture, tech and value-added industries. Local government supports this through Economic Development officer at CVRD, as well as incentives in North Cowichan for light industry.

3. Addressing affordable housing, childcare,and mental health/addiction service. I'm working on getting childcare spaces built here, non-market housing built and the Car 60 programme expanded to 24/7. We know #Housingfirst saves money, lives and dignity.

  • 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?

Communication and collaboration are essential. It works two ways. Councillors must listen to their constituents, and also have values they support. Of course, once elected, we must always continue to listen and keep an open mind, but it would be highly unlikely for me to be convinced to change my position on smart growth, stewardship of our environment, and creating real economic health – which, in my mind, includes encouraging more sustainable ways to earn income so that our children and grandchildren have a chance to raise their families in the community they grew up in.