Why I make the decisions I make
I believe we must act like a community
West Vancouver has always had a strong community spirit, shaped over time by our shared history, our unique natural environment, our exceptional residents and our treasured local institutions. Research shows that humans have a basic need for belonging and that a positive sense of community is highly correlated with physical and mental health, among other benefits. We all benefit by belonging collectively to something very special. However, community doesn’t just happen. Creating and maintaining a sense of community takes effort, encouragement and intention.
I believe we must take a long-term view
West Vancouver residents have been blessed with a tremendous legacy of desirable neighbourhoods; active, engaged and accomplished citizens; beautiful and accessible natural spaces and cherished public and private institutions and amenities. Our task is to honour and build on this legacy, and to chart a sustainable path into the future. We cannot focus solely one satisfying our present-day needs and wants. We need to plan and prepare for the future we are leaving our children and grandchildren.
I believe we must deliver excellent basic services
West Vancouver residents rely on the District to provide essential services such as water supply, sewage disposal, garbage removal, road maintenance, public transportation, fire protection and policing, etc. This is the central, core role of a municipality. We must focus on ensuring that these services continue to be delivered in an efficient, cost-effective and high quality manner into the future.
West Vancouverites also value the District’s outstanding amenities, such as the Memorial Library, the Seniors Centre, the various arts facilities, our sports facilities and the community centres. These institutions add immeasurably to life in West Vancouver and must be nurtured and supported. We must find creative ways to enhance these facilities, as was done with Rutledge field in partnership with community sports groups.
I believe we must manage finances prudently
West Vancouver residents face significant taxes levied by all levels of government. We must always be mindful of this burden and ensure that all tax dollars are allocated as carefully and effectively as possible. There is no doubt that District expenditures are high and continue to grow at an unsustainable rate. While much of this is beyond our control, we must find ways to temper wage growth, find cost efficiencies, generate non-tax revenues and, if necessary, reduce service levels. We must also resist the tendency for government agencies to grow in size. At the same time, we must also ensure that the District’s long-term infrastructure needs are adequately funded and maintained. Capital expenditures on sewers, water supply and municipal assets must not be deferred, lest we leave our children and grandchildren with an untenable debt.
Finally, we must advocate on behalf our residents before regional bodies such as Metro Vancouver and Translink and before the provincial and federal governments when new taxes and expenditures are disproportionately levied on West Vancouver and when funding decisions are made. Our residents already pay more than their fair share and seldom receive a commensurate return.
I believe we must address challenges head on
There are numerous impending challenges that must be addressed if West Vancouver is to remain a successful community into the future. These challenges cannot be wished away or solved by repeating what we have done in the part. They require focus, creativity and resolve. For example, we need to increase the diversity of housing options in the community if we are going to accommodate the housing needs of all West Vancouver residents and remain a complete, vibrant, functional community. While development is both inevitable and necessary, it must be done in a measured and thoughtful fashion. Traffic congestion is another serious threat to the quality of life on the North Shore. This is a regional issue that West Vancouver cannot address in isolation. We must learn to work and plan more collaboratively with neighbouring communities, regional bodies and senior levels of government, such as with the recent Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Process, if we are to have any success.
I believe we must be environmentally responsible
Every community must be managed in an environmentally responsible manner. We must strive to reduce our ecological footprint by increase opportunities for people to live, work and shop locally, within walking distance, and ensuring that we have a well-functioning public transportation system. We must push the development community to follow leading environmental standards in building and landscaping. We must preserve and protect our natural spaces, such as the newly created Whyte Lake Park. At the same time, we must plan for and manage the risks of environmental threats such as sea level rise and forest fires.