Our 2018 Mayors’ Candidate Forum is set for the EMCS Community Theatre on Wed. Oct. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. It will follow the same format as a session hosted by Transition Sooke in 2011. Each of the three candidates has been sent a set of questions prepared by Transition’s board of directors that reflect the organization’s own concerns and those of the community at large. Candidates will appear on stage together. In a rotation to be determined by a draw made by MC Michael Tacon at the start evening, they will answer these same questions as posed in person by two of our former board members, Yvonne Court and Mark Ziegler. They’ll have two minutes each for answers. Following a break at approximately 8:30 p.m., time will be allowed for questions from the audience. All welcome, no admission charge.
For the record, here are our 15 questions:
1. How can we effectively control growth and ensure that the values enshrined in our Official Community Plan (OCP) are respected and maintained?
2. The principal of “Smart Growth” is integral to the OCP. What does Smart Growth mean to you? Do you see smart growth revitalizing downtown Sooke? What else, if anything, is needed to “fix” the downtown core?
3. What have you already done personally to reduce your carbon footprint?
4. A mayor is in an excellent position to lead by example. What would you personally do as mayor to encourage others to use less energy? To recycle, reduce, re-use?
5. The Transition Town movement recognizes that individuals and communities want to be authors of their own stories — hopeful, active, and connected rather than despairing, passive and cynical. What would you do to encourage hope, civic participation, and a sense of belonging in Sooke?
6. How might you promote growth in quality of life rather than in dollars and cents
7. Localization: We are hearing more and more about the importance of local economies. i) How do you plan to kickstart local business and ensure more people who live here also work here; and ii) Should the District take a position on encouraging independent, locally-owned businesses and discouraging the arrival of more chain businesses?
8. Local and sustainable procurement policy. A sound municipal procurement policy should include a variety of criteria for evaluating bids. One might be “locality” (that is, a consideration of whether the bidder is a local enterprise). Another is “sustainability” – for example whether the bidder uses recyled products. Would you agree to review Sooke’s procurement policies with a view to including locality and/or sustainability as considerations in evaluating bids and purchasing materials?
9. The Official Community Plan includes a commitment to “thriveability.” What does that mean to you, and how would you encourage thriveability in Sooke?
10. A safe, walkable community is essential in encouraging people to get out of their cars. Walkability is also important as we build a more densely populated downtown in Sooke. What steps will you take to improve walkability in the town core?
11. On a similar note to question #10, what would you do to encourage cycling and improve cycling safety in Sooke?
12. Cosmetic pesticide ban: BC municipalities have the right to ban the use of “cosmetic” or non-essential pesticides (i.e., the use of pesticides to enhance the appearance of lawns and gardens) within their borders. Would you support such a bylaw in Sooke? (It is Transition Sooke’s view, shared with the Canadian Cancer Society and many reputable, peer-reviewed scientific studies, that pesticides pollute our streams and harbours and endanger the health of people, pets and wildlife).
13. Food Security: One measure of a community’s resilience is its ability to feed itself. Our local nonprofits Sooke Region Food CHI and the Sooke Farmland Trust promote farmland protection, regional food security and a vibrant, locally grown food economy. What might the District of Sooke do to promote and support these critical objectives? What new initiatives are possible?
14. Please share your knowledge of how the District of Sooke is working towards carbon neutrality, developing a clean, renewable-energy economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
15. Traffic Congestion: Polls indicated that this is the number one issue for Sooke residents. What steps are being taken — and might be taken — by the District to deal with congestion on our main roads and in residential developments? How would you encourage the mode shift from cars to other forms of transportation?