Rhonda Shirley

Rhonda Shirley – Candidate for Ladysmith Town Council www.facebook.com/rhondashirleyLStowncouncil

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

My husband Ed and I moved to Ladysmith in January 2006 to own and operate Hawley Place

B&B In Ladysmith, for 10 years. In retirement we chose to remain in Ladysmith, down-sizing and having a new home built. I enjoy the small town Heritage and participating in the activities and events organized by our local Groups.  I'm running for a Town of Ladysmith Councillor Position, to passionately continue to uphold the integrity of our seaside heritage town.

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?

In every industry, reviews on efficiency and waste (if any) should be looked at routinely and think of how they can best continue to operate consciously. Specifically in our area we are very blessed to have a small town and invested community working together to enhance our well-being and environment. Through the current Town Council and staff, we have a 2020-2023 Strategic Plan for Ladysmith. Ladysmith goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. Shopping more local and supporting our farmers and producers.

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?

Driving less and using alternate or shared transportation (BC Transit, bicycles, and Hydrogen cell vehicles). I am for an efficiently run railway system, it would have to be accommodating to the working population, families, sports enthusiasts (cyclists, sports teams, etc.), disabled, seniors and tourists.

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?

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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?

Common sense and accountability in our daily lives, awareness of how we impact our space on earth.  Basics like growing a garden, canning your food, home cooked meals, lowering our packaging and waste (compost), recycling, reusing and returning (bottles, etc.).

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?

New building codes with efficient building products and heating sources, and upgrading older buildings.

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?

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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?

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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?

Ladysmith has a strong working relationship with Our Stz'uminus First Nations. We look forward to many more partnerships together moving forward.