Lori Iannidinardo (incumbent)
- Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to run in this election?
I grew up in the Cowichan and have served the community all my life. Finishing my third term as Area Director, I’ve served as CVRD Board Vice-Chair, ten years on the Cowichan Watershed Board and 15 years on the Parks and Recreation Commission. I’ve worked with business and environmental groups to conserve and restore vital habitat of the Cowichan Estuary, while supporting responsible economic development. I’ve championed protecting our coastline, watersheds and agricultural lands in Area D, and led the development of a new Official Community Plan for Cowichan Bay with a great vision. I want to continue implementing that vision.
- Do you support the Drinking Water & Watersheds Protections Service bylaw referendum?
No. Working to conserve and protect our water, watersheds, groundwater and agricultural lands have been and continue to be critically important to me. Water issues will continue to be a top priority. However I do not feel that this bylaw adequately addresses these complex watershed issues, with overlapping provincial and federal jurisdictions. We as a board need to continue to work with our senior level governments to follow through on their responsibilities.
- Do you support the Cowichan Housing Association Service Establishment bylaw?
No. As the co-ordinator of Cowichan Community Kitchens for 22 years I am acutely aware of the need for more affordable housing in the Cowichan Region, and similarly, I don’t think the bylaw being put forward in the referendum is the way to do it.
- How do you plan to work with other governments within the region, including local First Nations as well as provincial and federal governments?
Working as a CVRD Area Director collaborating across our region with municipal governments and with Cowichan Tribes is very important. Our work on the Cowichan Watershed Board is all about collaboration and respectful relationships. Having good relationship with our provincial and federal governments, both with our local MP Alistair MacGregor and MLA Sonia Furstenau, and with Ministry staff around our roads and local environment is also essential, so we can call them and get action on our roads or an environmental concern when we need to. I have developed the relationships to do that over these ten years.
- 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?
The CVRD is at work on climate issues and we need to do more because local governments are on the front lines. Working proactively on responding and adapting to climate change is important. We can make sure new homes and buildings are required to be efficient, supporting solar and district energy systems. I am glad we were able to bring a climate change focus to our Cowichan Bay Area D Official Community Plan.
- How do you propose managing growth sustainably in the Cowichan Region (e.g. transportation, environmental/agricultural protection, land-use, housing, cost of living)?
The Cowichan 2050 initiative is a good place to start. Protecting our water, watersheds and agricultural land is critical. Getting more affordable housing built in our region in ways that also protect our agricultural and environmentally sensitive land is essential. Affordable housing will also support bringing in new sustainable businesses. Supporting access to public transit and connecting up trails so people can safely bike where they want to go will also make a difference.
- 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?
· Protecting our water, watersheds, agricultural lands and climate. We need to continue to advocate, and work with senior levels of government on these critical issues.
· Promoting a vibrant local economy: supporting local farmers and sustainable businesses, investing in trails, transit and public spaces, affordable housing for families and young people will all help our economy
· Advocating for fiscal responsibility, fair taxes and accountable responsive government: building and maintaining respectful relationships, listening to each other and finding the middle ground in our decision-making will help us get there
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?
Ongoing consultation and accountability are extremely important for all of us as elected representatives in order to continue to be responsive to what matters to people. I host regular community conversations in Cowichan Bay, and will continue to do so, and am always happy to hear people’s concerns and ideas. It was great to see so many people come out to the Design Charrette on creating a more walkable and family-friendly Cowichan Bay Village and our parking challenges in the Bay. I look forward to carrying many of those great ideas forward in this next term.