An Advisory Design Panel is a Must for the New Council

A previous councillor on Duncan City Council once commented, “We don’t need a planner because we are too small.” I heartily disagree. We need a planner BECAUSE we are small. It will only take a couple of badly designed buildings before we can kiss our lovely town goodbye. The human to building scale right now is lovely and makes Duncan a great place to shop or visit.

While I might be great at helping to develop policy and making decisions regarding the budget along with the other councillors and with staff guidance, how much do I really know about design and design standards? The planner is there to make sure that setbacks are correct, that heights and widths and technical issues are all correct and within the bylaws.

What you now have is a house painter, a website designer, a camp ground supervisor, two youth workers, a health care provider and a retired insurance adjuster making design decisions that could affect the look and feel of our town for 80 to 100 years. Without any design input from professionals. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

The next council must see the wisdom of this and be willing to appoint an Advisory Design Panel in the new year.


Approved by Sharon Jackson Financial Agent

Flushable Wipes Costing Canadians $250,000,000

Yes, you read that correctly. Swiffer pads and wipes being flushed down the toilets of the nation have cost Canadian Taxpayers $250 million dollars.

In Duncan/North Cowichan, we have experienced two major breakdowns as a result of these non-biodegradable tissues, getting entangled in the pump machinery for a cost of over $50,000. The Joint Utilities Board is looking into getting more sophisticated filtering equipment to help prevent this problem in the future.

Read the full article here.

Smart Meters. Big Brother Coming to Duncan?

Smart Meter Installation

“Meter exchanges in your community will commence in January 2012 and are scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2012,” Olynyk’s letter read. “BC Hydro customers in your community will receive a letter a few weeks prior to their meter upgrade. The letter will notify customers when their meters will be exchanged and what they can expect during the process.” This is from the letter from Ted Olnyk of BC Hydro to Mayor Phil Kent.

This despite the fact that council voted unanimously for a moratorium on Smart Meters for the city of Duncan.

We have been given an ultimatum. “Accept the Smart Meter or go off the grid.” How democratic is that?

Personally, I am not too concerned about the alleged health impacts. But I cannot believe that this is not the foot in the door of Time of Day billing. Their own website states, “While smart meters are installed across B.C., rate structures will remain the same. If voluntary or mandatory time-of-use rates are considered in the future, they’ll be implemented only after extensive public consultation and an independent regulatory review. ” Oh yeah.

The program which is reported to be costing $1 Billion in total has awarded the very first smart meter contract — $73 million to install up to 1.8 million of the new devices — went to a company with close ties to the BC Liberals. Indeed, that company is directly connected to a BC Hydro director.

Read the full article here.

And now that the election is behind us

I look forward to working with returning councillors Tom Duncan and Joe Thorne as well as the three new councillors, Michelle Bell, Michelle Staples and Martin Barker. I think the next three years will see a lot of changes.

Good bye to Jesse Winfrey, Ray Cadorette and Paul Fletcher, all of whom worked very hard over the past years.

I look forward to 2012, our centennial year, and to seeing and talking to you all.

One more sleep until the election

Today is the last day all candidates can be out on the streets campaigning. I expect to spend a couple of hours downtown.

I support Phil Kent for Mayor. I believe he is the one with the real vision for Duncan. He understands the process. He is thoughtful and respectful. He is inclusive.

This election has been marred by invective that I have never witnessed before and which I never want to hear again. On Saturday night we will have a new council, one that will have to learn to work together as a team, no matter who gets elected.

I believe that is far more likely to happen if Phil Kent is re-elected.

The alternative is unthinkable.