Mike McKinlay

Mike McKinlay, Candidate for Duncan Council                                               

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

I am born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, with pioneer roots to the Evans family. Prior to running for council, I was a fire fighter with the Duncan Volunteer Fire Department for 34 years, spending my last 13 years as Fire Chief. I retired from the City of Duncan, Public Works department after 30 years of service, 20 years spent as foreman. With this supervisory background this has given me boots on the ground experience to recognize the needs of present and future infrastructure. I’m from the community, for the community.

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?

As I am not a currently on council, I’m not currently aware of what they have put in place for the future, however I will look at things from all sides to reduce GHG and make an educated decision based on the information brought forward.

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?

- Reduction of traffic lights; lights being synchronized to limit time spent on the road idling 

- More parking options so you are not spending long periods of time driving around looking for a place to park

- Drive share programs to limit number of vehicles on the road

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?

I would look at working with other local governments to come up with a fluid plan of action that can be followed throughout the Cowichan Valley, including the RCMP and Island Health, therefore having continuity of service and supports to those needing it. 

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 local municipalities should have an action committee consisting of all local governments and shareholders involved to monitor and record and analyze the difference in water tables and sources that supply the local drinking water: snowpacks in the mountains, Lake Cowichan etc. to make recommendations to the provincial government.

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 and No. Solar is the up and coming way to move forward. 

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?

The city has sent the OCP back to the committee for further review. I feel at this time to listen to what they come back with and make recommendations.

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?

Policing, parking in the downtown core; look for opinions at increasing parking IE, parkade and increase transit in the core, infrastructure upgrades working for the City with all the building for housing, cost to improve the infrastructure should be more to the builder not the taxpayer. 

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?

Side by side, as it should be done. We each need to bring something to the table, and we need to make sure that we are looking at everything from all perspectives available.