Hard to believe four years has come and gone, even harder to beleive that seven years have passed since I first put my name in and was successful as one of your city council members. Now after seven years of being involved I am back one more time, to invite you to elect me to serve as your Mayor.
Hard to believe three years have passed since my first election campaign!! I am eternally grateful for the experiences that being on council has brought me! I have learned more than I could have imagined and have discovered that there are many intelligence, compassionate and dedicated people who work in our cities, municipalities, regions and towns across BC!! And the majority truly love their communities and the work that they do and at the core of our values we all agree that we want what is best for our children, our grandchildren the earth and our neighbourhoods.
BUT and this is a big but!!! We have fundamentally different views when it comes to the HOW we reach those goals and build that future vision. It is in the but where the breakdowns take place, where shoulders are cold, people feel misunderstood, ignored and left out. Where back room meetings take place to decide what is best for everyone. This is where the biggest change can happen, in the place of Buts, Maybes and It Can't Be Done and, this takes work and time and a tremendous amount of effort to achieve. This is where relationships need to be formed, true collaboration needs to be a priority and everyone needs to be at the table. And while there are many concrete things that need to be focussed on at the level of local government, see my platform for some of those, the main focus needs to be on building more effective ways of working together. The days of leaving people out of the decision making processes that effect their daily lives and basic needs must become a thing of the past. That is one of the main reason I am out hitting the pavement, knocking on doors, talking to people, doing this all over again because I saw changes happen when we started to learn how to come together to make decisions, and it has been messy sometimes, disheartening at others and completely frustrating BUT there have also been times when it has worked, when we have stepped outside of the ring and for a moment in a decision, we have all worked through our differences an found a place where we put aside our agenda's and recognized the values of each other and made decisions that support the people we serve. An this is just the beginning, so fragile and new that another four years has the potential to build a strong foundation where it is ok for us to disagree and where we can still do what needs to be done and include everyone in making that decision.
Today was truly the best day so far, first of all I started the day with a bike ride to my son's school. Then went into work until
afternoon tea at Wedgewood House this afternoon to meet with some of theseniors who live there. What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, I want to go there for tea all the time, they were funny, lively and full of insight and wisdom. And they want their sidewalk fixed and widened.
From there Judy and I resumed our door knocking adventure missing the company of Michelle and having some engaging conversations with people in the Dogwood area. Tomorrow brings a day filled with prep for work, Java World at 5pm for the final coffee with the candidates, and home to staple mail-outs. Another day in campaigning paradise.
So at the last Coffee for the Candidates I had the opportunity to speak to a retired gentleman about parking. We had a great time working together on solutions to deal with what is currently not working in the downtown core, for him, and for many others. Some solutions that came through our lively discussion were:
- Parking signs, the kind that direct you to designated pay and public parking areas
- Testing out parking strategies before they are implemented. Here is an example strategy and process for feedback. First, all downtown businesses receive parking passes to one of the designated parking areas. For the trial these spots are free to the
businesses. Second, two additional 15 min spots are identified so there are a total of three on each street. Third, one seniors/family spot is added that allows ½ hour parking because sometimes people need a little more time to support their needs. Fourth, a short feedback form is available at participating businesses – these should be mandatory for all businesses concerned about
parking but every one has the right to choose their level of participation. The “test” parking signs are temporary and include an invitation to people using them to check in with participating merchants to fill out feedback. Then we know if they work and if
not what needs to be improved upon before spending money and implementing something that later proves not to support businesses or their customers.
A great night last night at the Duncan Garage Showroom,
engaging conversations today at coffee with the candidate and a great day today
working with Canada World Youth on their anti-discrimination and understanding
crime projects– youth spreading messages to raise awareness and deepen
understanding complex issues.
Also very inspired by a few of my youth mentors who today
reminded me that working alone makes it hard to get anything accomplished and
that true leadership comes by understanding the value of working together.
These young people are courageously committed to standing up and speaking their truth
at the risk of standing alone rather than remaining silent and just standing on
the sidelines. I am grateful for their willingness to take risks, hounoured to
support their journey and appreciate that they are not willing to simply accept
the way things have always been done before. And that they have reached out and
asked their teachers, parents and other adults to help them.
And to everyone at U Fix it Bikes U ARE FABULOUS - it was exciting picking up my bithanks for the hot pink whiite rimmed
Yesterday morning I attended coffee with the candidates at the
Duncan Garage, was great to have the opportunity to meet with and hear from
more of the people in the City. Snow removal came up again over the weekend of
visiting people the subject was brought up by a few people and today it rose
again. I think it is on people's mind right now as our morning have been cold
and they are promising us some big snowfalls this winter. This has to be a
priority for council as winter is upon us. And not just snow removal, we also
have to deal with the drainage as the puddles on the curbs become the size of
Somenos when the snow melts. And removal has to be done in a way so people of
all abilities can safely access and use sidewalks and walkways and not small
narrow passages through snow drifts that happened last year. And we need to
remember to check and see if our neighbours need us to pick up anything when we
trudge our way into town and check in to make sure they are taken care of.
Tonight we are at the Garage from 5:30 - 7:00 and tomorrow afternoon back for
Coffee with the Candidates at Coffee on the Moon- thanks to young youth
advocate Devon Stafford for arranging all of the coffee's, Long John for
tonight, Nicolette and Susan for yesterday at the Garage and Dan and Leanne for
space and time at the moon tomorrow - things happen so easily when we all work
together- maybe we will have to organise a snow shovelling
It is just past midnight and i am sitting here reflecting on my day. Mack and i walked to school with one of our exchange students Colin, enjoying the clean chilly air. The mornings have been so beautiful the past few days with the sun streaming through tthe colourful leaves shining throuhg the sun Things were a little chaotic when started work with technolgy breakdowns interfering with my life. Then a nice break heading to the pool to help (play really) on swim day, While I was waiting for my token one woman behind the counter was explaining to someone the tiered system at teh pool and its rationale. i wonder how much time they have to spend sharing that story - i have heard form so many people that the pool is completely undersutilzed beacuse of this. A mother from coblle hill the other day told me that the schools there go to Victoria beacuse it is less expensive that going to our pool and that people form Cobble, hgill , Mill bay and Shawniga area's head to Victoria, ladysmith or Nanaimo to swim tather than come into Duncan beacuse of hte cost. I wonder how much money is lost out of the community and the pool's incme beacuse of that. Would be interesting for someone to do the math amd to see how much potential revenue is lost from Duncan and North cowichan businesses because people head out of town for family recreation.
Another day another step closer to finishing my website and editing it and now having help from my sister editing – thank you
Christina!!! Time, time, time wow how quickly a days passes between work, parenting, host parenting, meetings, door knocking, dinner and getting ready for tomorrow. I have to admit I am loving it all and completely interested in all of
the views of the people, fascinated by the learning and inspired by the conversations. Tomorrow we will be putting together the signs and over the weekend will put them up. I am finding it challenging as I am not a fan of signs and know there are other more effective ways to share our names with the people in the community. But for now this is still the way so I have been thinking of
creative ways to use them afterwards as next election, if there is a significant shift in council, perhaps we can eliminate them from campaigning all together.
Stopped by the Crofton Hall tonight for the third NorthCowichan all candidates – listened to some interesting responses to topics like amalgamation, the situation between North Cowichan over water with Halalt, food security and a host of other topics. Some creative solutions, tensions rising and courageous candidates is turning into one of the most interesting
North Cowichan elections I’ve seen. Tomorrow a full day of work, swim lessons, cultural activities, door knocking and a CIS community dance night at the Girl Guide Hall on Cairnsmore, 7 – 9. It’s all about balance. Good night and thanks for all the supportive feedback!!!!
This morning all the candidates for the City Council election gathered together for to introduce themselves to each other and a
small group of people who braved the first hard frost of the year downtowns has seen. It was good to get to hear the different perspectives of everyone running, we are a pretty diverse array of candidates. The audience kept things rolling with questions for everyone about a host of issues that included business access and congestion on the highway, tree bylaws, parking, and the
red tape of renovations. It was an incredible experience and I hope we get a chance to do it again a few more times before election day, November 19th, 2011
Since the elections candidates were officially announced one week ago today things have been pretty full in my world. This website is a work in progress that will continue to be added onto. Some additions will be video blogs, written blogs, press and media, feedback and bi-weekly polls. So what have I been up to this past week? Developing flyers, website, writing press releases, speeches for the all candidates, and meeting a ton of people on daily visit’s to people's home.
Dedicated to working with all of the people in my community, this campaign is no different. Together, Judy Stafford, myself
and when possible Joe Thorne are walking together. This has been a conversation started for sure and widely accepted and applauded by the people we have visited. We all know that we have to work together in order to continue to grow a healthy, progressive and economically strong community. We come from diverse backgrounds and support the work and ethics each other brings to this mix. We don’t expect anyone to vote for all of us, of course that would be great but honestly all we request is that people come out and vote for people who represent a vision and commitment to a community they believe in.
I have learned that the people the live in this City are as diverse as the landscape of this valley. Every street has a different perspective of what is working, not working and what they need to support their vision of this City. i have always believed that input from citizens is vital in community building and after speaking to so many of you already, i hear you asking for the same thing. And
because each neighbourhood is so diverse, each must have its own voice and representation so their concerns are adequately presented before decisions that directly impact you are made on your behalf. While it is true that the job of elected officials is to make decisions on behalf of the people in their elcetoral, it is equally as true that they must first know what it is the citizens they represent want for their communities. Whether it's garbage cans for Tim Horton's to go, chickens in the backyard, bike lanes, better parks, community consultation, safer streets, gathering places for youth, mobility alternatives for other abled people, alternate power, new business....the list you have been presenting goes on - as does your list of possible solutions. Garbage cans at the end of the streets affected by the new Tim Horton’s, alternative energy, enforceable bylaws and regulations for chickens, neighbourhood liaisons for council, alternative energy production, urban agriculture, more effective use of green space, more green space, and plenty of creative ideas for parking solution in the downtown car. i look forward to hearing more. Tuesday we will be up in the Duncan El area and Wednesday Pine
Street neighbourhoods, see you then ~ michelle