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2022 Civic Election: Q&A with West Vancouver's candidates

There are four mayoral candidates, 17 council candidates and six school board candidates seeking seats during the Oct. 15 municipal election
WV Municipal Hall 2018 PM
There are almost two dozen people running for mayor and council in the District of West Vancouver's Oct. 15 municipal election.

As we do in every election cycle, we have asked the candidates running in all three North Shore municipalities a series of key questions about how they would govern and what impact they could have on the community.

Responses from West Vancouver candidates for mayor, council and school board are posted below in alphabetical order, sorted by position they are seeking.

Candidates for mayor

mary-ann booth - DWV headshot

Name: Mary-Ann Booth

Age: 61

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: mayor, retired lawyer

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

2005-11 West Vancouver School Board trustee and board chair; 2011-18 West Vancouver councillor; 2018-2022 West Vancouver mayor

What are your priorities if elected?

Expand housing options for families, downsizers, and seniors. Protect environment and address climate change. Restore charm and vitality to commercial villages. Improve mobility and reduce congestion. Build a path to reconciliation.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Council declared a climate emergency, approved a 1.5-per-cent environmental levy, raising $1.2 million annually for climate mitigation and adaptation including: The greenest building code in Canada to reduce energy use and carbon emissions; incentivize home heating retrofits; Improve safety and convenience for transit, cycling and pedestrians; address the threats of wildfires and floods; develop an urban forest management plan; integrate natural capital assets into district infrastructure and budget; and reduce community and corporate waste, including single use plastics, and recycling in parks.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Approve an average of 250 new accessible homes each year, including rental, coach houses, duplexes, town houses and strata or mixed-use apartments; apply the neighbourhood character regulations to ensure all new homes fit in; develop a local area plan for Ambleside to provide low-rise housing and updated businesses premises; preserve 262 acres of forest for wildlife in Eagleridge, by creating a compact, sustainable Cypress Village in the Upper Lands over the next 30 years; and address the long-term need for additional seniors housing by approving 250 units every five years.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

As chair of North Shore Connects, I plan to implement 13 priorities to improve transportation and reduce congestion, including: bringing rapid transit from Metrotown to Park Royal as soon as possible; implementing provincial corridor improvements for Upper Levels Highway between Capilano River and Horseshoe Bay; providing another east-west connection across the North Shore by completing a western lower level road extension across Capilano River to West Vancouver; expanding and improving safety and appeal of transit, pedestrian and cycling networks; and connect the North Shore to Whistler with inter-regional transit service.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Collaborate with business improvement associations and chamber to support existing businesses, business mix and home-based businesses; complete Ambleside local area plan to incentivize redevelopment, update premises and improve street appeal; implement recently passed regulations limiting number of currency exchanges, nail salons and real estate offices; make permanent streetscape changes initiated during the COVID pandemic (outdoor spaces for seating, pedestrians and cyclists); and take a hands-on approach with businesses to ensure success, as I did with Feast, Savary Island Pie Company and The Orchard.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

We have a vibrant arts community, but three unsuitable and failing arts facilities – Art Museum, Silk Purse and Music Box. We must plan for their replacements before they deteriorate beyond use. We are engaging with the community on a vision and concept for new space for all those who find joy in the creative arts. Staff will be collating the results and reporting to council with a capital funding strategy that doesn’t rely on taxpayers, and a governance model which brings together the diverse arts and cultural user groups.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Bus Rapid Transit refers to a "train on wheels" technology with dedicated road space, enhanced stations and fast reliable service. North Shore Connects has secured regional support to bring it from Metrotown to Park Royal, which will take 50,000 cars off the road each day. It will ensure that those who come from outside our community to work here will find this much more convenient. Ultimately, this service will result in construction of a third crossing dedicated to rapid transit. Neither Bus Rapid Transit or Rapid Bus will come further into West Vancouver without extensive community engagement.

Website/social media contacts: maryannbooth.com; @maryannboothformayor; @maboothformayor; maryannboothformayor@gmail.com

Teresa De Cotiis - DWV headshot

Name: Teresa De Cotiis

Age: REALLY?

What neighbourhood do you live in? West Vancouver

Occupation: Real Estate

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

During the 1980s I worked in public sector, federal and provincial government, superintendent of real estate and financial institutions, and other public sector government offices.

What are your priorities if elected?

Improve traffic problems, and improve roads, street lighting, lower taxes, offer seniors free bus service.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Work together with leaders of climate change and government and industry levels to reduce emissions.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Find a solution through housing advocates.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Use electric or solar powered buses.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Lower taxes.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

Local artists are one of the priorities.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Focus on efficiency and increased man power.

Website/social media contacts: tdecotiis.com

mark sager - DWV headshot

Name: Mark Sager

Age: 64

What neighbourhood do you live in? Gleneagles

Occupation: Lawyer

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

I have served our community as the mayor, a councillor, school trustee, board chair, police board chair, vice chair of Metro Vancouver, secretary/director Ambleside Dundarave Business Improvement Association, West Van Citizen of the Year.

What are your priorities if elected?

Improve council and community relationships, ensure we are getting value for our tax dollars and work to reduce in areas of excess, improve transportation and create a micro bus system to add to our Blue Buses.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Find ways to make real improvements and not simply virtue signalling. We need to make informed decisions that are realistic and achievable. Our mini bus solution would help to take cars off the road, making improvements to our cycling infrastructure would help not only the climate but our health and wellness.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

I think using the buzz words housing crisis is unfair. West Vancouver is a beautiful community and hopefully it will always be seen as a wonderful place to live. Infill housing will continue to occur and future development of the lands above the Upper Levels Highway will provide further housing options. As we re-establish our citizen advisory bodies, we can bring in people with realistic ideas and solutions.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

This is something we can do and do quickly. I would like to do a test run of a micro buses addition to our much-loved Blue Bus system. I would call it Baby Blue, where people can use an Uber-like web system that can get a van service to take them from the main bus line directly to their home. I believe if done correctly this would take a lot of people off the road in cars.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Start by cleaning up the streets, improve the turnaround time to get permits and keep a firm eye on taxes. Businesses pay a much higher tax rate compared to residential properties. We also need to have commercial property owners that are engaged with our community and want to see the business district thrive.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

It would be nice to have a community art centre as part of a revitalized Ambleside. There is a wonderful location in Ambleside for such a facility and it must not go in valuable park space. The arts centre should be located in the heart of our business district so as to attract those visiting the centre to local nearby businesses. We also need to ensure the ongoing operational costs are affordable and not adding to our tax burden.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

We do not need an extension of the "rapid transit" bus, or the B-Line, in West Vancouver. This issue was dealt with already in 2019. Micro buses will have a far greater impact in improving transportation in our community. Residents that live up our hills and in more remote areas of our community will be much better served by alternative transportation ideas than rapid transit to Dundarave.

Website/social media contacts: website: sagerformayor.com; IG: @marksager_wv; Facebook: @marksagerwv

Marcus Wong - DWV headshot

Name: Marcus Wong

Age: 41

What neighbourhood do you live in? West Vancouver

Occupation: district councillor

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

West Vancouver Police Board, BC and Canadian associations of police boards, West Vancouver Track and Field Club, BC Athletics, West Vancouver Sports Alliance, Impact North Shore, Salvation Army, Canadian International Council (Vancouver), Pacific Baroque Orchestra, BC Luge, Young Life North Shore

What are your priorities if elected?

Reform: execute a fiscal, organizational and governance overhaul; redress: stop council’s constant ad-hoc decision making; resolve: champion West Vancouver’s urgent transportation needs.

What is your plan for local climate action?

We lack a comprehensive climate action plan, so decisions are often ad hoc, with uncertain/unmeasurable impact. We need a completed plan in less than 12 months that makes maximum positive/measurable impact, given limited district resources. This plan must prioritize in-depth citizen participation/teamwork, leveraging their unique depth of expertise/knowledge. I will immediately implement the completed plan, and set specific metrics to define success. It will be reviewed/updated every five years, to ensure it evolves given changing circumstances.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Set a deadline of 12-18 months to complete all “missing” local area plans, which will feature a collaborative approach prioritizing citizen participation/teamwork and leveraging their unique expertise/knowledge. I will immediately implement completed local area plans, setting specific metrics to define success. I will implement incentives and remove red tape to facilitate lagging housing goals as per completed local area plans and ensure neighbourhoods are designed for accessibility/mobility. Where determined by local area plans, encourage housing diversity through red tape reduction, and “20-minute neighbourhoods.”

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

We need a completed a transportation plan in less than 12 months, further to In Step/Next Step, so that with adjacent municipalities/First Nations, we can successfully lobby TransLink/senior governments for funding with “West Vancouver” solutions, such as: synchronized traffic lights/priority green during rush hour (with better cycling infrastructure); North Shore rapid light rail (with tunnel connections to Vancouver); on-demand shuttle buses/passenger ferries; staggered work hours for workers to minimize traffic; major bridge modernization/improvements; expedited travel to/from Squamish.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

We lack up-to-date plans that address challenges, so decisions are often ad hoc. Our economic development plan was approved about five years ago (largely sitting dormant since) and contains an overly broad overview, plus generalized (but obvious) recommendations. We need an effective economic development plan, while making it easier to open the kinds of businesses we want in the community (i.e. restaurants, retail, etc.) and encouraging home-based businesses that increase our economic output without taking up storefronts, by reducing red tape and implementing targeted incentives.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

Given the condition of our roads and long deferred maintenance list, we need to prioritize “must haves,” with “nice to haves” only implemented if fiscally viable to ensure that residents get maximum tax dollar value, while balancing the quality of life to which they are accustomed. As such, the proposed $38-million arts centre is not the best use of financial/human/capital resources. Once our most pressing priorities have been addressed and a solid business case can be established, a smaller facility should be considered instead (i.e. an extra floor at the library).

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

West Vancouver transit solutions must meet community needs, without further complicating existing issues with sloppy planning that does not enhance public safety or economic development (i.e. using all four sides of Irwin Park Elementary School as a B-Line turn-around point every 7-10 minutes). We must proactively anticipate a rapidly evolving transportation landscape, and plan transportation infrastructure by bringing everyone to the table to come up with collaborative solutions that properly address the issue, can actually be implemented, and are supported by all stakeholders.

Website/social media contacts: marcuswong.ca; Facebook/Instagram: @MarcusCSWong

Candidates for council

Amir Alavi - DWV headshot

Name: Amir Alavi

Age: 29

What neighbourhood do you live in? Queens area of West Vancouver and UBC

Occupation: master of public policy and global affairs student at UBC

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

First time civic candidate – more than 10 years of volunteering in a Persian community centre

What are your priorities if elected?

1. affordable housing

2. taking action on traffic

3. boost up business activity

4. meaningful relationship with Squamish Nation

5. restore demographic imbalance

What is your plan for local climate action?

1. preserve our natural parks and educate our community about how District of West Vancouver has been leading in natural capital asset in B.C.

2. increasing free electric stations across District of West Vancouver

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

1. scaling up the experience of 2195 Gordon Ave.’s project across the district to provide housing for essential workers, young families, and aging adults looking to downsize

2. streamline approval process with investment in technological infrastructure

3. laneway housing

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

1. Bus Rapid Transit to connect Metrotown to Park Royal

2. initiating collaborative projects in consultation with other stakeholders like North Vancouver, City of Vancouver and Squamish Nation

What should the municipality do to support small business?

West Vancouver has a huge opportunity to connect the experienced residents who are willing to mentor the young entrepreneurs to open small businesses in West Vancouver. This opportunity can be provided in partnership with Chamber of Commerce, the council and staff.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I believe West Vancouver can have a modernized art gallery that is privately funded. Secondly, there has to be a plan for it become self-sustained on a targeted schedule (let's say three-five years). Otherwise, I do not support to have arts centre that is publicly funded.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

So far the plan is already there. Within the next five years, Bus Rapid Transit will be connecting Metrotown to Park Royal. If anybody has a better plan which is more cost effective than Bus Rapid Transit, I am open to it

Website/social media contacts: amiralavi.ca

tyler blair - DWV headshot

Name: Tyler Blair

Age: 42

What neighbourhood do you live in? Cedardale

Occupation: businessman

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

n/a

What are your priorities if elected?

Transit, transportation, traffic. Seniors housing. Financial innovation and budget control.

What is your plan for local climate action?

I support an e-bike low interest loan program for residents – to be paid with the tax bill. I also support Mark Sager’s micro-transit proposal for West Van Blue Bus.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Explore new zoning ideas like quadplexes in some areas of West Van. I champion BC Housing seniors-targeted low income housing for West Van.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

See above answers on climate action and also advocate for planning a new Ironworkers Memorial Bridge with Bus Rapid Transit and through lanes now.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Support the Ambleside Dundarave Business Improvement Association. Don’t push the lower rent spaces out and make a plan! Small business and services are the key to community.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I support the exploration of an arts centre. Much more engagement needed. I don’t think $40-50 million is a priority over basic services like park washrooms and roads. Also, I don’t support locating one in Ambleside Park. No loss of park space, the need for that park space will increase with new residents.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Absolutely and let’s plan the accommodating infrastructure like a new Ironworkers Memorial Crossing with through lanes like the Port Mann Bridge now!

Website/social media contacts: blairforcouncil.ca; Twitter: @thx1979

Eileen_Buchanan - DWV headshot

Name: Eileen Buchanan

Age: not applicable

What neighbourhood do you live in? Dundarave

Occupation: experience: engineering firm CEO/CFO, researcher, nurse, educator, writer.

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

mother of four, VP PAC, strata treasurer, volunteer

What are your priorities if elected?

It’s no longer a matter of priorities. Everything must be done together, benefitting everyone, in a way that contributes globally, commensurate with our privilege.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Probably no signs, they must be discarded. Ensuring official community plans follow eco-justice principles and correcting prior changes that were not. Trialing local climate initiatives. Adapting global precedents for local solutions. Running studies to contribute globally. Ending cut-throughs: These are dangerous, displace bicycles and pedestrians, prevent children from walking and cycling to school, add concrete and reduce green space, violate eco-justice principles, are very expensive, and hamper traffic solutions.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Keep existing residents: I’ll still be on your streets to hear your concerns. End cut-throughs: They are forcing people out, and are the epitome of entitledness and destruction. Affordable cannot mean unliveable versus entitled, causing aggression due to powerlessness and loss, and ghettoization. Start groups throughout West Vancouver for a tapestry of solutions that bring community and belonging: Policy changes might urge exciting results without more segregation/traffic. Review assumptions: Who knows what to believe anymore?

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Please read my website, and add your stories. We need to rethink. We have a precious jewel here, it does not fit in any box, and ad-hoc solutions are creating damage. Slight inexpensive policy adjustments, supporting engineering, could create exponential improvements and contribute to widespread solutions. Some others have complimentary experience, ideas and knowledge, and I understand engineering has suggested some of these measures already. A quick, inexpensive trial in a small area would be best to know that we are making a difference, and to allow West Vancouver to contribute globally.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Judging by my interviews with small business managers, owners, and employees, the same measures should help them. If we run buses on the hills, upper areas would be more able to use local business. Businesses need to be heard, and woven into the same tapestry.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I fully support the arts, from playing house in the street to my grandmother’s miniature work. However, we cannot move forward lop-sided. I don’t think everyone is ready to pay for one and maintain it, traffic is a major issue, and I don’t think we are ready to commit land to one venue versus another. Sports, cycling and other groups are lobbying, and there are many without power that we need to include. If the arts groups are this committed, I suggest they fundraise enough to cover the land, facility and future maintenance costs.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

I doubt we are ready for a B-Line past Park Royal (or maybe Ambleside), and it may be obsolete before we need it. It involves major infrastructure and neighbourhood costs, and we should consider this very carefully with an overall plan. In 10 years, there will be major transportation advances, and our needs will depend on how we work, live, and buy groceries.

Website/social media contacts: sites.google.com/ashespaces.com/westvancouvercouncil/home

Christine Cassidy - DWV headshot

Name: Christine Cassidy

Age: irrelevant

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: retired from 38 years in investment industry

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

director, West Vancouver Library board 2001-2003

West Vancouver municipal councillor 2014-2018

Ambleside and Dundarave Ratepayers Association 2012-2014

Ambleside and Dundarave Residents Association 2019-2022

Council liaison to district committees

What are your priorities if elected?

Reduce spending, complete local area plans for Ambleside and Taylor Way Corridor, traffic and transportation, housing, environment

What is your plan for local climate action?

This is an evolving issue. 1) incentivize passive housing, 2) support our foreshore initiatives 3) disallow tree clearcuts for building lots both above and below Upper Levels Highway. 4) increase availability of electric vehicle charging stations 5) expand electric buses and shuttle buses 6) increase availability of street recycling program 7) retain and expand our greenspaces.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

The housing crisis is not unique to West Vancouver; it is a global issue. Ours is an affordability crisis due to high land cost. 1) Create a housing policy to inform developers what the community needs and wants. 2) A policy to eliminate the guesswork and streamline the process to save time and monies, the costs of which are passed on to the consumer. 3) Address lot size by eliminating lot assembly in residential neighbourhoods and permitting lot subdivision while maintaining neighbourhood character 4) designate available lands for affordable housing.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

1) Begin to discuss one to two bridges across the Capilano River to reduce traffic on Capilano Road and Taylor Way. 2) Shuttle buses to improve access both east-west and north-south for amenities e.g. shopping, entertainment, business 3) Investigate rapid transit options to/from Squamish and points north that will not impact the beauty of that corridor.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

1) Support the Ambleside and Dundarave Business Improvement Association both in funds and in a timely response to their requests 2) reduce taxes for small business owners if they improve the outside appearance of their buildings 3) incentivize restaurants, wine bars and boutiques to operate within our business district which would also incentivize the affordability factor for such small businesses 4) increase police visibility 5) improve and maintain our sidewalks, streets and laneways.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

1) No to the proposed site at the entrance to Ambleside Beach. This is already a very busy site with traffic needing to gain access to both beach and park, and the amenities on Bellevue Avenue. 2) As we densify, we will need more, not less green space. COVID has proven how necessary our green spaces are for both physical and mental well-being. 3) We have a gifted site at Klee Wyck which sits unused – a missed revenue opportunity. 4) $38 million quoted today will not be the final cost. And, who pays the operating costs? West Vancouver has $200 million in current infrastructure needs.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

No. The majority of buses travelling on Marine Drive are virtually empty. I would like to see more frequent service with shuttle buses to various destinations. This service also needs to be offered north-south, not just east-west throughout the community to give opportunity to access shops, services, parks and public transportation.

Website/social media contacts: christinecassidy.ca

Alexis Chicoine - DWV headshot

Name: Alexis Chicoine

Age: 53

What neighbourhood do you live in? Park Royal

Occupation: I am a disability and inclusion consultant, speaker and writer. With over 20 years of experience, I believe in open authentic conversations and have been on a mission to help organizations become disability-confident; to be more inclusive in their hiring and retention practices. At the same time, I have held a number of creative roles over the years, promotions at CTV (TV station), application support analyst (IT) at Arc’teryx and co-ordinating projects for large organizations, which translates to me working today with Stroke Services BC.

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

Vice-chair, West Vancouver and North Vancouver municipal government advisory committee on disability issues, 2015-present director. District of North Vancouver - advisory design panel, 2021-present

What are your priorities if elected?

Address our transportation needs, the lack of diversity in our housing stock, protect our natural environment and advance plans for climate adaptation. As well as supporting art and culture, businesses, our youth and more.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Implement community energy and emissions initiatives to lower greenhouse gases (land use, housing, etc). Employ land-use regulations, non-structural enhancements and structural flood protection measures to reduce potential impacts on public safety and property from sea level rise and storm surge. Explore opportunities to enhance creek corridors to accommodate for and reduce potential impacts from flood and slope hazards and extreme weather events. Expand the use of green infrastructure (such as green roofs, natural landscape treatments, etc.) through public and private development.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

We need to meet the changing needs of our community without compromising the look and feel of our neighbourhoods. 75 per cent of respondents in the West Vancouver Foundation Vital Signs report agree that a mix of housing choices are needed, as 64 per cent of our present housing is single family homes. We must diversify and expand the supply of housing (smaller homes, townhomes, low-rise mixed use, laneway homes, and rental units), including housing that is more affordable. We must develop supportive housing for seniors and people with disabilities who need extra care, so they can remain close to home as they age.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

We can make relatively walkable communities by developing housing close to transit and existing services. Complete the pedestrian and cycling network with integration to transit, village centres, community facilities, parks and trails system. Work with TransLink to improve transit infrastructure, service area and frequency. Maintain the road network for the safety and reliability of all road users, and seek to expand proposed road connections as opportunities arise. Support bike-sharing, car and ride sharing and electric and low-emission vehicles.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

I would support small businesses by looking for opportunities to revitalize existing commercial areas to accommodate additional local serving commercial spaces; review business-licensing processes to better support business; encourage development of shared and affordable workspaces that foster opportunities for business collaboration and lower operating costs for start-ups. As well, encourage everyone to buy from local small businesses and to use their services.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

The district provides approximately 22,500 hours of arts and culture programming and activities to the residents of West Vancouver each year from eight different facilities (three which are at the end of life). Community arts and culture groups identified that access to affordable rehearsal, performance and support spaces (administration and storage) is a challenge. In 20 years it is expected that arts and culture programming will grow by 65 per cent. To move forward though, I feel that funding for a new facility will need to have a bigger percentage coming from private vs. public sources.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Over the last three years Bus Rapid Transit has undergone feasibility and economic impact studies. The findings indicate that it will assist in meeting goals related to reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as enhancing economic opportunity and productivity. Shifting more than 50,000 daily vehicle trips to transit, resulting in decreased congestion, emissions, and collisions. A near doubling of jobs accessible within a 60-minute transit ride for North Shore residents and improved connectivity and economic development conditions for four First Nations reserves across the North Shore.

Website/social media contacts: www.alexischicoine.ca

Nora Gambioli - DWV headshot

Name: Nora Gambioli

Age: 57

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside/Dundarave

Occupation: Municipal councillor (small business owner, mom, former lawyer, teacher and management executive)

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

I have been a West Vancouver municipal councillor for 11 years, and have volunteered on municipal and community committees for 35 years, including Scouts, Streamkeepers, parent advisory committee (Sentinel), as well as Metro Regional Planning and Utilities.

What are your priorities if elected?

Support all forms of relevant action on climate change, approve new, diverse and more affordable housing, advocate for better public transit, fund active transportation improvements, carefully control spending and budgets.

What is your plan for local climate action?

We create more greenhouse gas emissions per person than others in the region, by burning gas to heat our homes and drive our cars. To decrease this, we must incentivize and support the retrofitting of homes with heat pumps and solar panels, and electric vehicle charging options in public spaces and multi-family buildings. At the same time, we must adapt to climate change by protecting homes and infrastructure from wildfires and sea level rise, planting more trees in public spaces, protecting/restoring our natural assets by enhancement projects, and integrating the value of those natural assets into district budgets.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

To support a diversity of new housing types, including housing that is more affordable; rental, co-op, townhouses, accessible units and strata. Create this new housing close to public transportation and existing services (which makes it more affordable and encourages walking). Complete the local area plans for Ambleside town centre and Taylor Way, so that housing in these areas can be approved without protracted public battles. Address the need for 1,000 more seniors housing units/beds by 2041 by approving new housing for seniors.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Municipalities have little direct authority over pan-North Shore transportation. So, our leverage must come from collaborating with North Vancouver municipalities and First Nations to collectively and strongly advocate at regional, provincial and federal levels for infrastructure funding, especially improved bus service, rapid transit, and a Sea-to-Sky bus system. Meanwhile, we must also prioritize and improve the safety and appeal of active transportation; sidewalks for pedestrians, lanes for cyclists and scooters, better bus shelters for transit users, space for car and bike-share programs.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Small businesses face a shrinking local market and have difficulty attracting and retaining staff due to high housing costs and limited transit options. The district must: plan land use to support commercial activities, support home-based businesses, collaborate with the business community (the Chamber and business improvement associations), manage the prevalence of financial services, nail salons, and real estate offices, make permanent changes initiated by COVID response – outdoor spaces for seating, pedestrians, cyclists, etc., and of course, encourage everyone to buy local and to use local services.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

We have always had a robust art and culture community in West Vancouver. Our residents take part in thousands of hours of arts and culture programming and activities each year in our facilities – three of which are at the “end of life” – and it is expected that in 20 years this programming will grow by 65 per cent. The arts facilities advisory committee is currently studying appropriate fundraising and governance models, and a location has yet to be decided. I am supportive of an arts and culture centre which is funded primarily through a capital fundraising campaign from private donors.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Employees, businesses and residents in West Vancouver need better access to public transit. Studies show that Bus Rapid Transit will reduce traffic congestion, collisions, and greenhouse gas emissions on the North Shore by shifting more than 50,000 daily vehicle trips to public transit. Our largest commercial/employment/residential centres, Park Royal and Ambleside, will eventually suffer without Bus Rapid Transit. We should plan space for Bus Rapid Transit in our upcoming public engagement process for the Ambleside Town Centre Local Area Plan.

Website/social media contacts: noragambioli.ca

claus jensen - DWV headshot

Name: Claus Jensen

Age: 76

What neighbourhood do you live in? British Properties

Occupation: retired business owner with 400 employees

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

founding director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation; $25,000 donation to West Vancouver Place for Sports Fund; volunteer West Vancouver Community Day for 12 years; president of CiviX WestVan Elector Society

What are your priorities if elected?

- I will personally survey West Vancouver residents about any significant community decisions and vote accordingly.

- Reduce property taxes and utility fees.

- Reduce traffic by limiting new construction.

What is your plan for local climate action?

• Stop the clear cutting of our forests for development and keep our streams clean.

• New construction projects pollute thousands of tons of carbon. Unless the first four years of future carbon savings is more than the carbon emitted during construction then do not build.

• Properly maintain storm water management systems to mitigate potential for flood damage. Reduce harmful contaminates including road oil that pollute our streams and groundwater

• Reduce stop and go traffic by improving traffic flow in key areas

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Currently there are more than 700 housing units for rent or sale in West Vancouver. Hence there is no lack of housing. There is however a lack of the financial ability of West Vancouver workers to pay for housing. I would propose creating the 'employees working in West Vancouver housing registered charity' whose mandate would be to financially assist people who physically work in West Vancouver on a full-time basis to rent or buy housing. A registered charity is required to "force" federal and provincial governments to "pay" by losing their income tax revenue which effectively is transferred to the charity.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

1. Offer free transit pass to full time employees that work in West Vancouver for West Vancouver businesses.

2. Offer a subsidized shuttle between select housing areas and transit hubs.

3. I would support the building of several new bridges between West Van and North Van to allow for "North Shore to North Shore" local traffic flow without having to get onto the Highway. Especially for emergency access to Lions Gate Hospital.

4. Ask the Province to build a "cut tunnel" (like Cassiar Tunnel) from Taylor Way and Upper Levels to/from the Lions Gate Bridge for through traffic.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

1. Create business zones in West Van and adjust the mill rate for property taxes so that property taxes payable will stay less than the rate of inflation and concurrently introduce a bylaw that fines landlords for "net-net-net" rent increases more than 50 per cent times the rate of inflation.

2. Facilitate business improvement associations as a voice to council.

3. Offer free transit passes to full-time employees who physically work in WV and regularly take a bus to/from work.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

West Can residents have voted “no” to $38 million dollar arts centre in West Van and I support them in that decision.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

1. Bus Rapid Transit as it is currently planned will not be a feasible solution to improve ridership for West Vancouver residents. Evidence shows that most residents of West Vancouver use transit to go downtown and not Metrotown.

2. The current 250 and 250a buses serve this quite well but we could increase service during peak times as well as making sure we have a bus to UBC as well.

3. I support a model of last mile service to select areas of West Van to transport people between their homes and transit hubs in a short amount of time.

Website/social media contacts: clausjensen.ca

Peter lambur - DWV headshot

Name: Peter Lambur

Age: 71

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: architect / planner / municipal councillor

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

councillor, District of West Vancouver

past chair, community engagement committee

trustee, West Vancouver Memorial Library

council liaison, neighbourhood character working group

What are your priorities if elected?

Local area plans for Ambleside and Taylor Way, climate action plan, “made-in-West-Van” public transit solutions, reduce traffic congestion and neighbourhood impacts, more assisted living and long-term care facilities, better community engagement.

What is your plan for local climate action?

West Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions have been rising since before adoption of the official community plan in 2018 .  A district-wide climate action plan is long overdue. New efforts should concentrate on establishing a carbon budget and applying high impact solutions (fuel-switching to electric heat pumps for example) to reduce community emissions. Concurrently, we need to adapt to climate change by pro-actively working with senior levels of government to protect our foreshore, watercourses and forests from the effects of increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

We have to recognize that the “housing crisis” is a chronic “affordability” issue that will be with us for the foreseeable future. Before we do anything else we should develop housing policy to address the core housing needs of our lower-income residents. We have a $4-million housing affordability fund that remains unspent for lack of policy direction. But perhaps the best thing we can do to as a municipality is to remove barriers to approvals for new housing projects. A critical first step in this process is the completion of local area plans to identify sites for multi-family housing.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Transportation on the North Shore is a multi-jurisdictional effort coordinated through the Next Step working group. Developing strong east-west connections through both road and transit improvements is key to optimizing the movement of people and goods. For transit to be effective, we have to concentrate on “last mile” solutions integrating active transportation infrastructure. To reduce traffic congestion, we should look again at mobility pricing to help free up road space.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Expediting permits for small renovations with guaranteed approval timelines would go a long way helping many small businesses. Mayor and council can help by building relationships with property owners and considering incentives to encourage a healthy mix of tenancies that include both neighbourhood services and destination retail.  Ongoing support for the Ambleside Dundarave Business Improvement Association and Horseshoe Bay Business Association is crucial to the success of our business districts.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

There is broad consensus that our current arts facilities need replacement, but there is as yet no consensus as to “how.” There is an ongoing public conversation regarding the vision for a new arts centre that needs to play out before decisions are made.

It is clear, however, that a 25,000-square-foot facility situated in Ambleside Park does not have community support. Alternatively, I would like to see potential sites in Ambleside revisited as part of the local area planning process soon to commence.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Bus raid transit is already in West Van at Park Royal. Previous proposals to extend BRT through Ambleside were proven to be a poor fit with the existing Marine Drive commercial area. As an alternative, the community would be better served by convenient and efficient local fixed route bus service supplemented by on-demand transit service similar to the service offered in Edmonton.

Website/social media contacts: website: peterlambur.com

Keen Lau - DWV headshot

Name: Keen Lau

Age: 44

What neighbourhood do you live in? Caulfeild

Occupation: banker / investor

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

I vote at every election. Volunteer work – BC Children’s Hospital, HSBC sponsored First Nations youth rugby clinic, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation, maintain hiking trails through BC Mountain Club and BC Mountain Foundation.

What are your priorities if elected?

Respectful discourse with elected members, municipal staff and the community. This is a fundamental building block in approaching transportation, housing, climate change and municipal finance issues.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Climate change, housing, and transportation are inter-related. We must take a strategic approach by integrating climate change initiatives/solutions when resolving our htousing crisis and congested ransportation on the North Shore. Policy (official community plans, local area plans, and building codes) on new builds should leverage new technologies while building codes should be periodically reviewed for improvement. It is also important that the city does not deviate from the official community plan. Revitalize Ambleside and Dunderave business town centres to promote a circular economy.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Engage with different community groups and residences across different neighbourhoods in West Vancouver. Community insight is essential and together with our municipal staff will enable us to better identify the most suitable housing mix and location. We need more housing, but it’s not just building more homes. Homes should be built in the right locations, in consideration of public transportation routes, maintaining public amenities/parks, climate change, and the maintenance of infrastructure.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

We need to look at the better public transportation access connecting Squamish and Whistler to Vancouver. I believe we need a bus connecting Squamish to Vancouver as soon as possible. Traffic from Whistler goes has its peak seasons and during those peak seasons we need to look at providing public transportation access. Active Transportation (transit, biking and walking) will contribute to easing traffic congestion. We should invest in expanding bike networks while keeping commuter’s safety as a priority. Let’s explore and promote ride share options. Apps where neighbours can carpool.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

no answer

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

We must look at the affordability in financing the build of a new art centre, its annual maintenance, and resident opinion is key. It is essential that we take a look at municipal finances. If funding is a limiting factor then I would prioritize spending on infrastructure while addressing transportation and housing which are more pressing issues.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

no answer

Website/social media contacts: keenlauforcouncil.ca; linkedin.com/in/keen-lau

Rima Martinez -DWV headshot

Name: Rima Martinez

Age: 42

What neighbourhood do you live in? British Properties

Occupation: interior designer

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

Vancouver Heritage Foundation Board member, volunteer for numerous sports and animal groups, working with many cities as part of my job.

What are your priorities if elected?

My focus would be on fiscal accountability, creation of long-term affordable housing, accessibility and maintenance of trails and parks, investigating the possibility for rapid transit.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Forest maintenance to limit fire risks, support of tree planting residentially, continue to work toward net zero for municipal operations, and support homeowners to reduce energy usage.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

To focus on long-term solutions that would create stable rental costs that are not based on market rates, but rather actual affordability for young people and seniors.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

I would like to see more research and requests for funding for rapid transit in and out of West Vancouver. In a way that does not limit driving lanes or parking.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Create new retail spaces along the water, Ambleside/Dundarave, Park Royal and interspersed in the community. Walkability should be a goal.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I support it if it makes financial sense. If it doesn't, I think the money could be better used for other purposed at this specific time economically.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

I don't see the value of a rapid transit bus along Marine Drive as it does not address the majority of West Vancouver, and it won’t limit the need for cars elsewhere. Skytrain along the highway that would connect with North Van, Vancouver, and potentially as far as Squamish would significantly reduce car reliance. Big picture, not little picture.

Website/social media contacts: Twitter @RimaMartinezWV Web: rimamartinez.ca

David McCosh - DWV headshot

Name: David McCosh

Age: 67

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: Retired

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

Mayoralty campaign chair, financing agent, riding association president in Coquitlam. Former Rotary Club president, treasurer, etc. member of Chamber of Commerce.

What are your priorities if elected?

Implementing solutions for traffic congestion, increasing inventory of affordable housing, improve villages business environment, prioritize environmental needs.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Support federal and provincial initiatives, phase-in pedestrian malls and perimeter parking arcades; better north-south electric bus routes to improve commute times.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Implement a local area plan for acceptable, low-rise developments; consider initiatives for restricting two bedroom purchases for principal residences only to address overbought rental properties/starter homes, and lobby federal government for mortgage interest write-off.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Establish a bus route grid for north-south direction (e.g. 21st Street, 15th Street, Taylor Way, etc.) and east-west direction (only) with available express bus service scheduled for higher volume commuter hours.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Expedite local area plan to provide certainty for development plans and approvals on a timely basis. Encourage pedestrian traffic and glass canopies over gathering places.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I don't believe in throwing good money after bad. ... Existing facilities are obsolete and require costly repairs – retain ownership of the land and lease them out. The district needs an arts centre as well as a large donor – and revenue generation via a bidding process for naming rights/signage, sale of artist's works in a gift shop, a restaurant run by a culinary school as part of their work term, benefit concerts by the musicians and drama students, and rental income from exhibits/performances are necessary to make it self-sufficient.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Consider cause and effect. Present bus service every 20 minutes along Marine Drive works well and downtown bus service is generally 15 minutes. If we propose to lose parking in our villages – a contingency for underground parkades is warranted on a phased-in basis. I support Bus Rapid Transit to Park Royal.

Website/social media contacts: facebook.com/davidmccoshpolitician

Elaine McHarg - DWV headshot

Name: Elaine McHarg

Age: 62

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: vice-president, philanthropy and partnerships, West Vancouver Foundation (on leave during campaign)

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, chair

District of West Vancouver community engagement committee co-chair

District of West Vancouver arts facility advisory committee, member

mayor’s economic recovery council

various parent groups

What are your priorities if elected?

A livable, inclusive community with a collaborative, thoughtful and forward-focused council. Priorities are housing choices, climate, transportation, vibrant economy and neighbourhoods, improved services for residents.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Climate change is undeniable, so it is critical to continue expanding the environmental aspects of city planning with clear and transparent targets tied to the budgeting process. Infrastructure design, building practices and investments need to recognize climate issues including rising sea-level, protection of ecosystems and environments, and carbon capture. We can better leverage partnership opportunities and programs for co-funding. Citizen empowerment and understanding will assist in the adoption of residential, business, and municipal programs to help address this issue.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Prioritize more choice in housing options to accommodate residents of all ages and different situations. Focus on multi-family, low-rise developments in vibrant and welcoming communities, purpose-built seniors housing, and appropriate rentals. Signalling that West Vancouver is ready to invest in housing choice will open partnerships funding to improve affordability. Neighbourhoods are important, including the proposed Cypress Village. Many are nostalgic for the West Vancouver of yester-year with more generational families and local employees living here. We can have this again, with thoughtful developments.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

WV could develop a resident-focused inter- and intra-community mobility plan that considers vehicles, along with local transit, biking, and neighbourhood walkability. Traffic is closely related to the lack of housing choice, and we have more people travelling into the community than ever before. Resolving transportation issues will take cooperation and investment from all three levels of government. I support the initiatives coming of the North Shore Connects partnership, but these are significant investments and West Vancouver needs to commit to a sustainable plan.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Businesses need to be surrounded by vibrancy and selection that makes residents want to shop locally. Common issues are the limited options (beyond Park Royal), fewer high-quality premises, costs and difficulty hiring staff. Through comprehensive economic development planning the municipality could support upgrading of premises and street fronts, local shopping programs and experiences, explore specialized incentive programs for new businesses, and host a regular business planning dialogue.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

Vibrant and diverse arts and culture activities are important to a liveable community. I support WV having a strong arts and culture scene and believe we need to replace the older close to end of life premises with something better. An updated public consultation has been underway since July and it feels inappropriate to specify areas of support, or dissent, without hearing the full feedback from residents. Their feedback will contribute to my opinion on how arts can thrive in West Vancouver and how to best resource them over the mid-term.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

I support comprehensive mobility planning that makes it easier for people to get around and brings in new more advanced transportation options. The Bus Rapid Transit program is the way of the future. It requires less infrastructure, is more environmental, and minimizes major disruption to existing businesses and residents. Mass transit to be being effective and affordable is influenced by density, geographic considerations, and public will. So yes to Bus Rapid Transit, and let’s consider the broader inter-community connectivity as well.

Website/social media contacts: elainemcharg.com

Ken Schultze - DWV headshot

Name: Ken Schultze

Age: 25

What neighbourhood do you live in? Eagle Harbour

Occupation: store manager

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

West Vancouver Place for Sport fundraising committee, North Shore Young Civic Forum volunteer member

What are your priorities if elected?

Promoting housing choices for all households and families, laying foundations for transportation solutions, and taking action on climate change. This can be accomplished in fiscally responsible ways.

What is your plan for local climate action?

Our unique geography and population requires unique solutions. I will participate in as many panels, committees and forums as possible, in and beyond our district, to ensure continued access to the best, most relevant and executable solutions. There are many innovations that are used in other communities that we can apply in West Vancouver, and we need a council that is informed and open to adopting them. By aligning with other communities with shared values, we can better protect one of our most valuable assets: our environment.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

I will prioritize housing that fits the needs of people at all stages of life. Resistance to gentle densification has forced West Vancouver to accept large projects – we need a more sustainable approach to how we diversify our housing to include choices for downsizing seniors and young people alike. Massive towers can be avoided, but only if designs for smaller projects are considered and prioritized.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

West Vancouver cannot solve our transportation issues alone. The regional issues are more complex than ever before. We should be looking at the best possible transit service for West Van. We must continue to work closely with other North Shore municipalities to advocate for change and to explore better mobility choices that reduce demand on our existing infrastructure.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Local businesses need local people to survive and thrive. By supporting the housing needs of residents, we keep the community vital and self-sufficient. Better transportation means more employers can keep talented staff, as well as ensuring customer accessibility and patronage. Future developments need to accommodate staff for local businesses to minimize commute time. As a local business operator, I personally rely on both housing accessibility and efficient transportation choices.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I value arts and culture in our community. But I found the messaging around the proposed art centre confusing. There is room for conversation around a dedicated art facility, or even a shared facility with the library, that can accommodate an appropriate mix of learning, studio, and display spaces.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Bus Rapid Transit is a step in the right direction to improve employee and customer access to our business community. With proper planning, it provides a reliable, convenient transportation choice for individuals that is cost-effective and time-sensitive. The route needs to consider stakeholder needs to provide a solution in the best interest for the long-term health of West Vancouver. As a bus rider, I want better service and will fight for it.

Website/social media contacts: kenschultze.ca; Instagram: @kennyschultze

Scott Snider - DWV headshot

Name: Scott Snider

Age: 55

What neighbourhood do you live in? Cypress Park

Occupation: mediator

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

being an engaged citizen looking to improve our community

What are your priorities if elected?

Ensuring our tax dollars are being prudently spent, offer better transportation solutions, reduce red tape at city hall, offer better transportation solutions and take care of our aging infrastructure, roads and sidewalks

What is your plan for local climate action?

I believe our priorities should be to: be prepared for extreme climate events, reduce building emissions, promote green transportation, reduce solid waste and improve waste management practices, protect local wildlife and our forests/watersheds and develop a community engagement plan.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Encourage responsible densification of our neighbourhoods that are appropriate and respectful of our neighbours. Look at diversifying and encouraging alternatives to mass densification such as coach houses and multi-family alternatives that fit our neighbourhoods

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Take advantage of the existing rail line, synchronize traffic lights along major routes, particularly Marine Drive and offer smaller and more efficient transportation options

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Re-vitalize the tiring business district of Ambleside and Dundarave to attract increased commerce.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I support the arts West Vancouver, but I am not convinced that the proposed location and anticipated costs are justified. I think any art centre would be better suited in our commercial/business district so it can be supported by local businesses and vice versa. I also believe that there are options available that would minimize the costs to taxpayers. I think we have other priorities for our tax dollars and we need to work with property owners to consider other locations and shared costs.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

I do not support the B-Line transit in West Vancouver. We need to think outside the box to find transportation solutions. I believe our existing Blue Buses serve the Marine Drive well and we need to look at options that work in conjunction with our existing main routes.

Website/social media contacts: www.sniderforcouncil.ca/about

bill soprovich - DWV headshot

Name: Bill Soprovich

Age: over 21 under 100

What neighbourhood do you live in? Hollyburn

Occupation: retired

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

design review committee; coastal marine management; community engagement committee; Gleneagles advisory committee; Metro regional parks; arts facility advisory; audit committee; Coho Festival director; senior advisory committee; advisory committee on disability issues

What are your priorities if elected?

Housing, transportation, environment, finance

What is your plan for local climate action?

Bring compliance to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate targets. Action plan and support for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. Implement property assessed clean energy program. 

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Local area plan would be a good start

Need for alternate housing

Address concerns over the local area plan for Ambleside as it stretches from Bellevue to Fulton

Changes to the public involvement in the local area plan

Bring back townhall meetings

Notification area of development in the neighbourhood increased to 500 metres

Bring back the planning commission

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

Improve the Blue Bus routes

Have TransLink initiate rapid bus service to Squamish

Support of the light rail plan in North Van connecting to Metrotown

No B-Line to Ambleside

What should the municipality do to support small business?

A.B.B.I. has supported local business during Covid and has continuously support upgrading of infrastructure and excelled in providing assistance to all small business.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

The arts facility committee is working on governance and funding – to date, no decision has been made

I will not support a facility in Ambleside Park nor will I support the cost being passed on to the taxpayers of West Van

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

A big NO!!!

Website/social media contacts: billsoprovich.com

sharon thompson - DWV headshot

Name: Sharon Thompson

Age: 58

What neighbourhood do you live in? Caulfeild

Occupation: district councillor

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

one term (four years) district councillor

seven years provincial constituency assistant serving West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Lions Bay, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

lead: Caulfeild Park conservation society 

boards: Enhance West Vancouver (community centre board), West Vancouver Library board

committees: finance committee, community engagement committee, heritage advisory committee, public art advisory committee, coastal marine management working group, Howe Sound UNESCO Biosphere Region Initiative, Gleneagles advisory committee, community grants, community awards, design review committee, parcel tax roll review, West Vancouver Sunrise Rotary Club

What are your priorities if elected?

Fiscal responsibility/accountability. Improve access to and through community. Support townhouse/ duplex proposals and other housing alternatives that are respectful of neighbourhood character. Revitalization village centres. Reinstate the dignity and decorum of the council. 

What is your plan for local climate action?

West Van is committed to better building practices. We have implemented an environmental levy. I want to ensure these practices are effective and the levy is directed to meaningful initiatives. Partner with senior governments/organizations for funding/educational support. Support volunteer and stewardship groups - Shoreline Protection Society, Streamkeepers, Lighthouse Park Preservation Society and Old Growth Conservancy Society that provide meaningful work, research and education. Explore more sensitive approach to provincially recommended flood construction level, the implementation of some of the wildfire protection plan practices and enforcement of fire regulations in apartment buildings.   

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

Set achievable goals. Affordability is a challenge. I am heedful about our ability to provide "affordability" in a responsible way and believe we should be focusing on a bold plan for accessibility to get people to and through our community. We currently have five heavily subsidized housing projects in West Vancouver in partnership with BC Housing and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which is the best way to provide affordability in our community. We should be vigorously pursuing "rent-to-own" style opportunities to give residents the ability to become financially stable. Incentivize coach houses, in home suites and sensitive densification.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

It's BOLD. Proactive not reactive approach and a 50-year plan. We have the data that demonstrates North Shore warrants major transit investment beyond any other region in Metro Vancouver not including Sea to Sky corridor. This data shows that we could develop a light rail system across the North Shore, connecting us to Metrotown and other major transportation networks to take 50,000 cars of the roads. All that is lacking is the political. Improve our local system though tweaking our buses to align better with schools and best use scheduling. Pursue smaller, on demand, electric buses. Consider gondola system up Cypress Mountain and through the village planned for that area. Bring pedestrian ferries to our peers.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Improve permitting and licensing process and timelines. 

Better communication and coordination with operators and land owners. 

Our Economic Development officer should be on the ground and in the business districts daily to observe activity and listen to operators and Business Associations. 

Empower the Business Improvement Area director to curate businesses and develop policy with staff. 

Keep sidewalks safe and clean.  

Fix hazards and eyesores expediently.  

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I fully support the arts and recognise the value in our community. The arts facility advisory committee is currently exploring ideas to achieve an arts centre; I support and applaud their efforts. The considerations I will give to their recommendations will be the feasibility of the project and the suitability of location within the local area plan. Support annual $150k funding for Kay Meek and additional funds to help them through COVID. Our arts advisory committee has been working to bring a grassroots level of art and performance to the streets where so many of us enjoy them. I will continue to support the Harmony Arts Festival, Iranian New Year (Nowruz) Community Days and other suitable festivals in our community. 

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

Already Bus Rapid Transit to Park Royal. I haven’t seen a plan to bring more articulated buses further west into the district other than the B-Line proposal of 2018. I was disappointed when we had the attention of TransLink for the 2030 plan and settled for rapid bus over a more inspired long term solution. At a North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce presentation, the head of TransLink commented that what TransLink heard above all else was that the North Shore needs solutions NOW and the rapid bus was the fastest, easiest and cheapest solution. That is a big miss for the North Shore that strikes me as reactive. Now we have to study how to achieve this bus route when we could be exploring the long term and adaptive solution of light rail.

Website/social media contacts: website: sharon-thompson.ca IG: sharonthompson_dwv

Linda Watt - DWV headshot

Name: Linda Watt

Age: 60 (Why are we asking in 2022?)

What neighbourhood do you live in? Horseshoe Bay

Occupation: North American account executuve, Rekord Marine Entertainment/Gul Watersports

List your municipal and/or civic group experience

director Western Residents Association 2013-2020, Blockwatch captain 2010-2020, BC Ferries liaison committee 2010, Mary Bayes Rain Garden committee member/fundraiser 2018-2019, Cypress Mountain - volunteer ski instructor (kids camp) 2007-2009

What are your priorities if elected?

Ensure public engagement before wasting tax dollars on studies for projects that will never be approved. Focus on infrastructure, garbage, reduction of red tape to encourage investment in commercial zones.

What is your plan for local climate action?

We need an impactful educational programme that encourages waste reduction and dependency on products from countries with lax environmental legislation. The implementation of a micro-transit system will connect riders to existing bus routes that are often underutilized. Synchronizing traffic lights will reduce emissions and improve traffic flow. It is imperative that we increase our resiliency to future atmospheric events that cause the destruction of property and natural habitats by increasing protective measures on our foreshore.

What is your plan to address the housing crisis?

This is not downtown Vancouver. I am not a proponent for stacking more condos and apartments sky-high to get the most out of our costly land. We need to encourage smaller developments that are close to our commercial villages, encouraging West Vancouver to become an even more viable, walkable district. Encouraging flexible ownership like the collective of cottages in Horseshoe Bay will make ownership more viable to residents. Cypress Village will be built over the coming decades, offering a broader range of housing in a condensed local area.

What is your plan to improve transportation on the North Shore?

All too often our buses are travelling with less than a handful of riders. The implementation of an on demand micro-transit project connecting riders to the Blue Bus routes, commercial zones and Park Royal will reduce gridlock by allowing citizens in the farther reaches of our community to have viable access to public transit. We need to prioritize the implementation of a SkyTrain line across the Second Narrows. I hope the e-bike share program gains more momentum and I would like to also see the introduction of a similar pilot project with electric scooters.

What should the municipality do to support small business?

Reduce red tape. It wastes tax dollars and discourages investment. Businesses (and residents) are hamstrung by onerous delays for approvals for new businesses and for the simplest upgrades to existing properties making it difficult to adhere to viable timelines. Potential new businesses and existing businesses are impacted in an increasingly competitive world. Limiting the number of nail spas and money exchanges will inspire more business diversity.

What is your position on the proposed West Vancouver arts centre?

I am not supportive of the existing proposal that focuses on the new centre being constructed in Ambleside Park. I would be more comfortable examining a proposal that is not situated on iconic, prime waterfront land. If situated in a commercial district, users would inject vitality and much needed revenue into nearby businesses. Transparent engagement with residents and other stakeholders would be imperative.

What is your position on allowing Bus Rapid Transit in West Vancouver?

The B-Line proposal, in theory, was appealing. However, it did not address the very real concerns of Ambleside. Businesses are struggling, traffic is congested, and it is often impossible to find an available parking space for the simplest errand. By dedicating a lane of traffic to a rapid bus route, we would further degrade the Ambleside Business District when we should be focused on its revitalization and return it to a thriving hub. It would make more sense if our buses were overflowing, but this is not the case.

Website/social media contacts: lindawatt.ca/; instagram.com/lindacwatt/; linkedin.com/in/linda-watt-88261724/; imdb.com/name/nm0914995/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Candidates for school board

lynne block - WVSB headshot

Name: Lynne Block

Age: n/a

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside, West Vancouver

Occupation: school trustee and educator (B.A., masters in education administration, Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence)

Do you have children in the West Vancouver school system?

Yes, a grandchild; My two children and I are all graduates of the West Vancouver School District

What are your priorities if elected?

My priority is to build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren, by driving excellence in education, improving student outcomes, and working together to create a healthy, safe and positive school district for all

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you address it?

Our biggest challenge is the budget. Unfunded cost increases, inflation, and budgeting for increased cleaning and teachers teaching on call costs, while having one of the lowest funding allocations in the province, all combine for increased strains on our budget and contingency. Over my 30-year career, as a parent and educator, I am uniquely positioned to bring a balanced perspective, and represent our community collaboratively, with my fellow trustees and District team to balance the budget, while meeting students’ needs, and providing the staff and resources for education excellence

What is your assessment of how schools handled learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done differently in future waves of the virus?

It has been my greatest honour to serve our community for these past four years, helping to navigate the health, safety and well-being of students, staff and their families in an unprecedented time. The West Vancouver School District did an incredible job of handling students’ learning during the pandemic. For staff, parents, and students it was a constantly changing and stressful experience with new information/requirements, daily. In the future, increased communication from health officials combined with continued respectful consensus with fellow trustees would prove invaluable.

Is there any segment of the school population that is not being served as well as it could be by local schools and what should be done about it?

As an experienced educator, our school population is well served by West Vancouver School District public schools. There is a broad diversity of student needs, and I am proud of the breadth and depth of our school district’s diverse resources, personnel, support, programs and academies. There is something for all segments of our student population: advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, English language learners, band, choir, inquiry-based digitally enhanced community, French Immersion, early learning, visual/performing arts, carpentry, robotics, digital art/media, outdoor recreation, Young Entrepreneurship and Leadership Launchpad, inclusive education, Indigenous education, sports, etc. We will continue to build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

What do you see as the school district's role (if any) in providing day care options for families?

Our West Vancouver School District believes in providing day care options for families. Hollyburn Elementary was one of a handful of elementary schools in B.C. that ran a pilot program called Seamless Day. This program was the first to provide continuous care and support for children from the early morning, throughout the school day, and into the early evening. The program is highly successful, and we will continue to evaluate additional options in the future for our community.

What do you see the schools' role as in promoting social justice issues?

The term social justice has evolved to today’s emphasis on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets, and economic justice. Our schools are a unifying force, and our commitment as a school district is to ensure that we “walk the walk” in terms of equity, diversity and inclusivity. As the founder of the Youth Engaged in Social Responsibility (Y.E.S.) forum, I am a passionate supporter of West Vancouver School District's programs and educational opportunities where students, families and community members learn about and experience social justice in action.

Website/social media contacts: Twitter: twitter.com/lynneblock1; Facebook: facebook.com/LynneBlock4WV website: lynneblock.ca

Carolyn Broady - WVSB headshot

Name: Carolyn Broady

Age: 54

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: West Vancouver School trustee and president of the BC School Trustees Association.

Do you have children in the West Vancouver school system?

My children graduated in 2016 and 2018

What are your priorities if elected?

To continue to ensure every student reaches their full potential. We must refocus on the learning agenda, ensuring students leave our schools with the skills to successfully transition to post-secondary, or a rewarding career

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you address it?

With rising inflation and unfunded cost increases, the board will find it challenging to balance the 2023-24 budget. With my participation, we will continue to advocate to government for adequate, stable and predictable funding while ensuring the board carefully considers every option when looking at cost-saving measures. I will continue to ensure that all financial decisions prioritize the classroom and the needs of students.

What is your assessment of how schools handled learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done differently in future waves of the virus?

I am proud of our COVID response. BC prioritized education and ensured that students were able to return to school early in the pandemic, and we now know that SD 45 students are not experiencing the learning losses seen in other jurisdictions. Boards, district staff and educators were responsive and agile, working hard to ensure our schools were, and continue to be, safe and welcoming. We successfully reopened our schools at the beginning of the pandemic, and schools will be ready to adjust health and safety plans if or when needed - following, as always, public health guidance.

Is there any segment of the school population that is not being served as well as it could be by local schools and what should be done about it? 

There is always more work to be done to support our most vulnerable students. Students with diverse learning needs, Indigenous students and students needing extra support. We need to continue to focus on the individualized needs of these students. Families also need to work closely with district staff to ensure that individualized programs are in place with adequate supports. Boards in turn must continue to advocate for the programming and resource the funding needed to support our students so that they can reach their full potential. They deserve nothing less.

What do you see as the school district's role (if any) in providing day care options for families?

School districts need to collaborate with the Ministry of Education and Child Care to create and fund new childcare spaces on school sites to allow for seamless transitions between before and after childcare and class. We have a “Seamless Day” pilot program at one of our school sites staffed by early childhood educators. The next board needs to advocate to implement this across the district. With the growth of government funding to support help families with childcare costs, it would be beneficial to add early years spaces

What do you see the schools' role as in promoting social justice issues?

Students often take the lead in identifying issues that impact them. Examples include climate change, geopolitical uncertainty, equity, diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation. The role of educators is to provide reliable context, and to teach critical thinking skills. This will enable students to effectively analyze various viewpoints and develop their own conclusions based on logic and evidence. Boards of education in turn have a responsibility to ensure schools are safe, welcoming and inclusive for everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Website/social media contacts: carolynbroady.ca Twitter: @carolynbroady

Nicole Brown - WVSB headshot

Name: Nicole Brown

Age: 52

What neighbourhood do you live in? Cypress Park

Occupation: school trustee

Do you have children in the West Vancouver school system?

Two graduates from Ecole Pauline Johnson and Sentinel Secondary now at university

What are your priorities if elected?

Nicole will champion innovative programming and support vibrant school communities that students and families are proud to belong to. She will push for solutions to the long-standing issue of inadequate funds for technology.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you address it?

It has been an honour to be a voice for constituents and to ensure student success and accountability to taxpayers since 2014. Excellence in education will always be a priority but provincial funding realities and the reduced size of our international program will be challenging. Tough choices to balance the budget may be required to keep the essential work that has led to such positive outcomes and top graduation rates for students. Provincially, she will advocate for a separate technology grant distinct from general operating funds that keeps pace with modern learning needs

What is your assessment of how schools handled learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done differently in future waves of the virus?

The decision to keep school doors open after the provincially mandated online-learning term in 2020 was critical to the mental, social and academic health of our youth. It was clear to trustees, educators, health professionals and parents that full-time, in-person education was foundational to the well-being of young people. Students in classrooms surrounded by friends and vibrant school activities played a critical role of maintaining normalcy and purpose at a time of severe disruption. Outside of B.C., many districts did not make the same decision and the impact on youth was considerable.

Is there any segment of the school population that is not being served as well as it could be by local schools and what should be done about it? 

Our school district’s demographics continue to change, and this is reflected in an increasing number of English language learners. Over 1,100 students enrolled at school last year had this designation, up from 700 eight years ago. Additional learning supports are provided and specialist English language learners educators in our district model the best teaching practices in the field. Beyond language, outreach efforts and social engagement play a crucial role in making newcomers and their families feel welcome in their school community. Success means every student being able to say, “I belong here.”

What do you see as the school district's role (if any) in providing day care options for families?

Our sites host numerous before/after school programs as well as play-based early learning initiatives. Our partners delivering these services work closely with district leaders to ensure the care provided is high quality, safe, inclusive and accessible and new spaces have been allotted this term. The Ministry of Education recently moved childcare under its wing which will expand integration with our broader learning environment. Schools will always be a vital part of the childcare system, but the scale of the challenge of inadequate supply requires the engagement of all levels of government.

What do you see the schools' role as in promoting social justice issues?

Students benefit from a strong academic foundation as well as a sense of confidence about who they are and the ability to use their skills to reflect the values that are important to them. Not everyone will have the same perspective on issues and that is healthy. The key is encouraging youth to be engaged about shaping the future and know that their voice and actions will make a difference.

Website/social media contacts: nicole-brown.ca; Facebook: NicoleBrownSD45

Sheelah Donahue - WVSB headshot

Name: Sheelah Donahue

Age: 59

What neighbourhood do you live in? Whytecliff

Occupation: trustee, West Vancouver Schools

Do you have children in the West Vancouver school system?

My three sons attended Gleneagles Ch’axáý and graduated from Rockridge Secondary

What are your priorities if elected?

My fundamental priority is centering student achievement within a culture of innovation and excellence that includes supports for all students and staff.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you address it?

From a governance perspective, our biggest challenges this term are fiscal. We passed a budget that maintains teacher librarians, music programs, and daytime custodians – no easy task and few districts have been able to do this. In order to maintain the broad learning experiences we offer, we must continue to spend responsibly, increase locally generated revenue streams, and advocate for increased funding and more flexibility within the existing model.

What is your assessment of how schools handled learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done differently in future waves of the virus?

Learning loss and declines in physical fitness in our community were mitigated by keeping schools open as much as possible. The COVID pandemic also took a toll on the mental health of our school communities – staff and families alike. While we are required to comply with provincial mandates, we’ve learned that proactive, ongoing, and meaningful assessment around these three issues will lessen the negative impacts of COVID on learning and wellness.

Is there any segment of the school population that is not being served as well as it could be by local schools and what should be done about it?

Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act inform curricula at all levels of K-12 throughout the province and we are regional leaders in this area. My work with the West Vancouver Indigenous education council around our enhancement agreement has shown me that there is still work to be done in collaboration with indigenous families and staff that will enrich the school experience for all members of our school community.

What do you see as the school district's role (if any) in providing day care options for families?

Government recently expanded the education portfolio and we now operate under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education and Child Care. Many of our sites have longstanding childcare and early learning opportunities. Schools are a good fit for these types of programs, both funded and otherwise, and they are an important component of student and family support services in our district.

What do you see the schools' role as in promoting social justice issues?

School communities reflect the values of our larger society, both locally and globally, and schools themselves should be welcoming places for all who come through our doors. Concern for climate, respect for diversity, the virtue of kindness, and appropriate exploration of social issues, both historic and emerging, are reflected upon thoughtfully throughout our schools. We strive not just for academic excellence but also for the ability of our students to navigate their world when they are ready to take their next steps.

Website/social media contacts: sheelahdonahue.com; Twitter: @SheelahDonahue

dave stevenson - WVSB headshot

Name: Dave Stevenson

Age: 67

What neighbourhood do you live in? Dundarave

Occupation: college administrator

Do you have children in the West Vancouver school system?

five graduates

What are your priorities if elected?

Continue to raise student achievement, recruit the best staff, continue to use every taxpayer dollar wisely, manage the effectiveness of all school district programs, and find additional revenue to support the school district.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you address it?

As with every term I have served, the challenge is to support the best education practices, to improve student achievement, protect funding for the classroom and core services, skillfully manage the budget, listen to the community to improve our district, advocate to Victoria, find great new staff when openings exist, and support senior staff to do the most effective job possible for the district.  I seek to be one of the five trustees who provide effective leadership and governance.  

What is your assessment of how schools handled learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done differently in future waves of the virus?

The school district worked very effectively to continue to provide learning and reopen the schools following the direction of the ministry and our public health authorities , when it was safe for students and staff. The evidence is that students learn best and manage physical and mental health while at school. With enhanced cleaning and environmental management, the district supported in-person teaching and learning. The district will respond to any future waves with information and the best practices to keep our students and staff safe.   

Is there any segment of the school population that is not being served as well as it could be by local schools and what should be done about it? 

The success of every student and helping them find success is at the core of all our schools and programs. That is reviewed consistently within each school and program area. When students are identified, additional support is provided. With the many demands on the system, I work to ensure that the needs of all students are met. At the same time, I advocate with our provincial organization to the Ministry in Victoria to provide suitable funding to meet the needs of our students.   

What do you see as the school district's role (if any) in providing day care options for families?

The school district has a long history of working with community providers to provide day care

options for our parents and future students. The school district will need clarity from Victoria that there is fully funded staffing and additional infrastructure costs that will need to be provided as the school district works to improve the available options for daycare. The school district does not have the needed additional capacity in our existing buildings.

What do you see the schools' role as in promoting social justice issues?

Parents will always be the primary educators of their children for values and character; while the school district teaches the provincial curriculum and supports students to become thoughtful citizens of the community. Students learn to be critical thinkers and educated about the issues in the world past and current. The district has a long tradition of our students being part of the solution for building a better community and world.

Website/social media contacts: davestevenson.ca

Felicia Zhu - WVSB headshot

Name: Felicia Zhu

Age: 44

What neighbourhood do you live in? Ambleside

Occupation: educator

Do you have children in the West Vancouver school system?

Yes. One in elementary, one in secondary.

What are your priorities if elected?

1. well-being of our students and staff

2. shifts around assessment and reporting to better address the educational outcome

3. inclusion

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you address it?

We need to attract and keep qualified educators to work in our school district. It would also be my hope that we can reach successful negotiations with teachers in the upcoming collective agreement discussions. If elected, together with my fellow trustees, I will advocate for the fair share of provincial funding to come to West Vancouver School District. This will allow us to continue improving our class composition, as well as providing opportunities for program growth and professional development for our employees.

What is your assessment of how schools handled learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done differently in future waves of the virus?

Our schools have done a fantastic job in keeping the learning available to students during COVID-19. It was also exemplary for schools to stay open for essential workers’ families during the lockdown period. We also learned how to keep our education system operational during a pandemic. It will be my expectation that schools will have gained greater experience in preparing our teachers to provide a healthy balance between in-person/virtual learning to students. The collaboration between West Vancouver School District and Vancouver Coastal Health also offers an excellent example for future communication with parents on public health issues.

Is there any segment of the school population that is not being served as well as it could be by local schools and what should be done about it?

In a district as diverse as West Vancouver, there will always be the need to identify any under-served student population. This may come from students with cognitive learning needs or from special social/emotional concerns. It may also be the result of linguistic /cultural differences. Additional issues of gender identity and sexual orientation also plays a role. Ongoing monitoring of the educational outcome should assist in identifying any additional services needed to ensure success for these groups of students.

What do you see as the school district's role (if any) in providing day care options for families?

The pilot program that blends daycare and kindergarten at the same site has been explored in some B.C. schools. Early care and learning professionals play a critical role in caring for and preparing kids for the future. If the school district has the facility and qualified early learning educators to be able to provide a seamless transition from 0-5, and if the initiative is proved to be able to reduce childcare fees for parents, build more licensed spaces, and increase support for working parents, I’ll endorse it.

What do you see the schools' role as in promoting social justice issues?

We need our students to become responsible, active and engaged citizens in the future. As such, schooling needs to ensure that they have a profound understanding of the inequalities in society and are determined to make a positive change for everyone. To prepare them for this role more effectively, schools should also proactively promote social justice and other topics such as equality, equity, climate change, truth and reconciliation among parents and work collaboratively with a wide range of community partners.

Website/social media contacts: feliciazhu.ca