Three candidates declared so far for two Islands Trust positions

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, September 5 2018

Scott Colbourne, Kees Langereis, and Dave Neads have stepped forward to be candidates in this October’s local government election to represent Gabriola at the Islands Trust level.

The formal election day will be on October 20, 2018.

There are two positions available for Gabriola Island Trustee.

Some early questions were put to the candidates as to why they were choosing to run for the Trust, and what they thought the issues for this election should be.

Langereis said, “The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust area and of British Columbia generally.

“I support this objective which doesn’t stop change but requires us to find the balance between environmental goals and supporting a healthy, sustainable, rural community with a diversity of age, income and lifestyle. 

“I believe I can contribute by providing an effective voice for the community as a whole and remaining true to the Trust mandate.”

Langereis believes his 29-year career with the BC Government will help him - he was involved in development of policy and legislation which included consultation and collaboration with other government and non-government agencies. 

“This experience has given me strong analytical and administrative skills which will help me to guide the development of effective policies and regulations within the Trust mandate.”

His experience being on the Volunteer Review Committee (review of the Official Community Plan), and member of the Gabriola Advisory Planning Commission is also something he sees as a strength.

Colbourne also brings intergovernmental experience to the table, wanting to take skills earned through a life of journalism and government work into the Trustee position.

“I love this place and this community. I grew up in a very small town before reluctantly being drawn by work to big cities, including over a decade as an editor and columnist at the Toronto Globe and Mail; as primary writer for Vancouver’s Cultural Olympiad in 2010; and as the communications lead for BC’s new Ministry of International Trade in Victoria. 

“I want to use those experiences to be a community connector here on these rural islands, strengthening relationships between the Trust and the people it serves and ensuring that all levels of government work together to preserve and protect these special places and island neighbourhoods.”

Nead said, “I  firmly believe in the mandate of the Islands Trust: to preserve and protect the ecosystems and the unique lifestyles on the islands.  For  25 years  I represented conservation and wilderness tourism interests at the local and provincial level, so being a trustee is a natural fit for me.” 

Asked what the issues need to be for this election, Neads said, “Affordable housing, water quality and quantity, coupled with sustainable, low impact economic development. The Islands Trust provides a planning framework for these interests. At the same time, rare ecosystems present on the islands need special attention that can be reinforced by Islands Trust regulations and policies.”

Colbourne said, “Continuing to build community-to-community relationships with Snuneymuxw First Nation, and a strong focus on working collaboratively with the Regional District and Province. Improving the availability of affordable, accessible, appropriate housing using land-use planning tools shaped by these communities and former Trustees. Ensuring that when we say preserve and protect, we’re backing it up with science-informed tools for stewardship and reducing our ecological footprint. Communicating clearly and transparently, creating two-way conversations with people on Mudge, DeCourcy and Gabriola so they see their priorities reflected in the plans that guide the Islands Trust.”

Langereis said, “Change is inevitable, but a sustainable change means longer-term viability. There are current issues such as affordable housing, protection of our water supply, protecting our marine and land environments, and improving our local economy. To address these and new issues arising over the next four years, we, as a community, need to have a respectful discussion where there is openness to considering varying viewpoints and a willingness to seek common ground. We can also draw upon the expertise within our community. Through this process, issues can be addressed more effectively.”

The candidates were asked why run for the Trust, as compared to RDN, or work through community groups to effect change.

Neads said, “The Islands Trust plays an important role in shaping the future for Gabriola, Mudge and De Courcy.    A close working relationship between the RDN and the Trust has the opportunity to provide the planning environment and funding resources for new, innovative projects.”

Langereis said, “Active participation in community-led initiatives is a key component for a healthy community. We have many examples of this on Gabriola such as Sustainable Gabriola, People for a Healthy Community, GIRO, Village Vision, the Gabriola Community Health Centre, the Gabriola Health and Wellness Collaborative, the Community Hall and many other groups. Gabriola possesses a proactive community.

“I believe my analytical skills, my administrative experience and my non-confrontational, open approach to dialogue would be an asset to ensuring strong local governance capacity and community engagement.”

Colbourne said, “First, as a consultant and writer, I have the flexibility and capacity to do this job and to give it the attention it deserves. I know Trustees don’t fix problems on their own — you work with what the community gives you in terms of applications and priorities, and make decisions within a framework of bylaws and official plans. I also know these are resilient communities, with so many people willing to share their lived experiences and ideas for the future, and I’m excited about seeing what we can do together over the next four years and beyond.”

If anyone else is running for Islands Trust, and has not declared themselves, the Sounder would certainly welcome being contacted by those persons or their campaign managers. Email derek@soundernews.com