Ross Forrest

Town of Lake Cowichan Mayor Candidate


Q1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and why you are running.

A: My name is Ross Forrest. I am born and raised in Lake Cowichan and have a strong passion for the community I love. I have been privileged to be Mayor for the past six years. We have had a big challenge to move on from a forest industry dependent Town and I believe we have been making positive strides in that regard with the downtown revitalization projects we have been implementing. I would like to see us continue to attract smaller industries to our community such as the South Shore Cabinetry business that has established  Themselves successfully in Town.


Q2. The community survey results placed a high priority on sustainability, in particular on protecting our watersheds, water supply and water quality, as well as on creating a more sustainable local economy. If elected, please describe what your approach would be to those issues.

A: I have been involved as a director of the Cowichan Water Board, Flows Committee Chairman, and member of Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship. Myself along with our two area directors initiated and hosted the meeting to originally establish the River and Lake Stewardship Committee. Despite much outcry from our community we proceeded with water meters for our Town during my first few months in office. I have gained much education through my time on WaterBoard and firmly believe in raising the weir to sustain our summer water supply.


Q3. The survey results indicated citizens want to see more consultation and accountability between elected officials and their constituents. If elected, please describe what your approach would be to those issues.

A: This is a tough one. We hold bi- annual public forums,; I write a monthly Mayors  report to provide information; we repeatedly encourage citizens to attend all our meetings; we provide information on our webpage and facebook page( these can be improved on) ; and I respond to every email or phone enquiry I receive. My wife hates going for walks with me because I am always talking to long with constituents about town issues. Despite us trying to provide information as quickly as possible; one complaint we hear the most frequent is our lack of communication. 


Q4. What is your position on municipal tax rates and the corresponding level and allocation of services?

A: Our town has no industrial tax base so unfortunately our residents and small business bare the brunt of our tax base. We try everything possible during budget discussions to keep our tax increases as low as possible. Water, and sewer infrastructure providing the healthiest protection for our citizens is our number one priority. When we were faced with the need for additional funding for these future upgrades we implemented parcel taxes to reduce borrowing when the time comes to complete projects.


Q5. What is your vision for this area, and how would getting elected help achieve it?

A: The Cowichan Valley should be the most desirable place people want to locate too and we have to only allow growth if it is achieved properly. Our watershed, and natural environment is what people most desire so it is imperative that we protect it. We certainly have the beauty of the Parksville -Quallicum Beach  area; the only difference is they have hotels and Resorts. Once some major investors recognize this we will become the Islands most desirable destination.  If I am re- elected in Lake Cowichan I will continue to protect our s and the valleys greatest assets.


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