North Cowichan municipality recently held community meetings seeking citizen’s feedback. Attendees were asked to indicate their preference for a list of 10 municipal initiatives.
In the Chemainus meeting, at the suggestion of the undersigned, an 11th category, Economic Development and Job Creation was added. This category received the largest number of votes at 19%, surpassing the runner-ups of Clean Water (15%) and Infrastructure (13%). The municipality obviously seriously misjudged citizen priorities by not presenting Development and Jobs at the other community meetings.
Jobs are a big issue in the Valley. My young neighbour travels to the Yukon for a good part of his employment and at least one of his friends, a Duncan lad, can only find good paying employment in the Alberta oil patch. He is of the opinion that rather than encouraging job creation, local government often impedes new industry. The proposed Marine Conservation Area, supported by some on Council, is an example of a job killer.
With local elections coming up in 2018, candidates will do well to include real citizen priorities in their platform.