Kathy Code – Candidate for Director, CVRD Area B www.kathycode.ca
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to run in this election?
I have a lifetime of community service – the Victoria Cool Aid Society, the Ecoforestry Institute Society, the Cowichan Family Life Association, Fairy Creek, and I have a proven track record of success with these organizations. I stand for community, ecosystems protection, Indigenous rights, title, and sovereignty; food security; community partnerships; compassion; social justice; knowledge and education. I was asked by area residents to run in this election and the support given to me has been resounding. I am deeply honoured by their trust. We have a climate crisis to address; we need to get on with it.
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?
Significant reduction of GHG emissions can be achieved through:
improved land use planning; the construction of walkable communities rather than just houses; building and construction design and use of materials such as hemp and alternate concretes;
reduced traffic: improved public transit; significant decrease of single vehicle use; return of the rail;
the protection of all old-growth forests and ecosystems; reduction in clearcutting and poisoning the landscape; and
regenerative agricultural practices and improved food security.
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?
Improved public transportation with electric and smaller buses and more frequent schedules.
Encouraging of rideshares and multipurpose trips.
Construction of local community hubs that provide housing, business services, retail, and farmers markets where people can walk or park and walk.
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?
Development of community hubs that offer places where residents can gather, share and connect, that offer diverse, truly affordable and inclusive housing options, business and medical services, farmers markets. Affordable homes must be protected with land deeds to ensure prices remain within financial reach of Shawnigan residents.
Sharing of Indigenous ways of knowledge and tradition and restorative justice practices.
Working with the Island Health Authority, developing a wholistic approach to substance abuse, with medical and housing professional teams with culturally appropriate beliefs and practices.
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?
Protect any remaining Old-growth forests and intact ecosystems.
Ban the practice of clearcutting local forests and ecosystems by working with local woodlot owners and the provincial government. Use selective tree harvesting methods.
Employ regenerative agricultural practices, i.e., no tillage, use of diverse cover crops, on-farm fertilizers that reduce the need for outside fertilizers, multiple crop rotations and managed grazing. The improved soil is one of the top methods for sequestering GHG emissions.
Review waterways and lakes to ensure riparian ecosystems are in place or restored.
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?
Yes, I do support this move.
There are alternate building materials that can be used, i.e. hemp, alternate concrete mixtures with fly ash or ground bottle glass.
Rebate programs for alternate heating systems such as heat pumps.
Better construction methods with improved insulation. There are local construction companies that have developed amazing construction methods that can improve the R value of a building.
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?
Public consultation with residents to discuss through a series of themed meetings.
Consultation with subject matter experts.
Development of a knowledgeable consultation or advisory group to provide ongoing expertise on a number of different topics, such as engineering, construction, ecology, transportation, housing, etc.
Continually researching and keeping up to date with the latest technology and living designs.
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 protection and management: protect and restore the surrounding ecology and manage human activities to reduce harm.
Food security: provide land, education and infrastructure opportunities for people who want to produce food for us.
Housing: attract developers who can design and build the diverse and sustainable community hubs we need and want.
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?
Invite, listen to, learn from, and respect the Indigenous peoples on whose unceded lands we live.
Ensure everyone from all levels of government (as required) is at the table right from the project concept and initiation.
Work as a team member, always prepared - prepared to listen and prepared to do the necessary research and consultation.
Convey the need for urgency – we don’t have a lot of time and we need to map out goals, milestones, and activities for the next 8 years and get stuff done.