Stacy Middlemiss

Stacy Middlemiss – Candidate for Reelection, Duncan Council                                 

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

I am a long-time resident who has spent many years putting much effort into improving individuals’ lives and the Duncan area as a whole.  As a mother, it is my responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the community we live in, while showing my daughters the importance of being part of the solution. As a registered psychiatric nurse that works exclusively in a variety of mental health and substance use services, I bring an experienced and realistic voice to the council table; one that allows our region to advocate for programs that are desperately needed.

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?

I am not an expert in climate issues but understand the importance of making changes to our processes and planning.  I value the work of our Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee and count on them to provide input on decisions we are making at the council table. I am committed to supporting this committee’s suggestions, as I have for the last four years. 

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?

Again, I really do count on the suggestions brought to council by the Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee.  With the increased traffic frustration everywhere, it would be beneficial to strategize innovative ways to encourage people to carpool, use public transit, walk, and ride bikes whenever possible.

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?

As a registered psychiatric nurse who works exclusively with people who have mental health and substance use issues, I bring an experienced and realistic voice to the council table; one that allows our region to advocate for programs that are desperately needed. My experience with these topics has allowed our council, and the region as a whole, to advocate for programs and funding. 

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?

Our council declared a climate change emergency in 2019 and from that we agreed to look at what we have been doing and look at what changes we could make going forward.  Being hit with a global pandemic shifted priorities but it is my hope that we can work to try and implement some policy changes as well as invest in technologies that help us reduce GHG when possible.  Additionally, local government can continue to bring awareness and advocate to higher levels of governments supports.

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?

As I mentioned, this is not my area of expertise, but I am definitely open to hearing about and discussion options to achieve at minimum the reduction of fossil fuel emissions.

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?

Feedback we had received in September was that our OCP still needed some adjustments and we felt it would be best for the community if we waited to get it right before approving.  Once this process is complete, it is important that each council member understand the importance of ensuring the decisions we make should reflect the plan moving forward.

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?

We are facing a multitude of crisis’, all of them connected in some way.  Local government may not be directly responsible for these issues, but we can improve our processes and encourage new ideas.  Additionally, we need to continue to advocate for more funding and programming from higher levels of government because as we witnessed during the pandemic, it doesn’t take months or even years to find solutions when something is considered an emergency. The health and well-being of our citizens should be our number one priority and many of them are currently struggling to have their basic needs met. 

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?

The only way to work with anyone, other levels of government, citizens, council colleagues and staff, is in a respectful manner.  We all have different beliefs and values, levels of experiences, education, and training but we should be able to listen to what other people have to say and communicate respectfully whether we agree or not.  We all stand to learn from one another if we listen with our ears and our hearts.