RDN Area A Local Election, 2018

Our congratulations to Keith Wilson,

on winning the election!

RDN Area A

Our local election is this Saturday, October 20th. Who should you vote for in Regional District of Nanaimo Area A? We have assembled a Candidates’ Questionnaire on matters that concern us. Here are the candidates’ responses. 

RDN Area A. Candidates:

Sharon Thomson  www.communitychanges.solutions

Keith Wilson  www.electwilson.ca

1 Would you support the development of an RDN regional property tax incentive to reward landowners who are already practising sustainable forest management, or who have placed an ecological covenant on their land? A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed

Sharon: Support in principle. On the surface the property tax incentive appears to be a good idea. However, it would not stop the property from becoming developed at any stage. The ecological covenant provides a solid and lasting basis for the future of the lands and area.

Keith: Support in principle. We would have to look at appropriate protection of the covenant to ensure that future owners were unable to change the management practices on the parcel in question.

2 Would you support more use of density transfers, allowing a landowner to sell development potential to a landowner in an area where density transfer units can be received for an approved development? Thus, if you own 20 acres zoned to allow four 5-acre lots, you could sell some or all of the density, the remaining forest being protected by an ecoforestry covenant. A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed

 Sharon: Support in Principle. I’ve recently learned quite a bit about Density Transfer Credits. A great concept as long as the essential elements are in place (specified conservation areas, specified development areas, the transfer mechanism, fair appraisal, density transfer fee/size determined, non-lapsing Density Transfer Fund, Updated OCP agreement / community support. Public education will be an important aspect of this plan.

Keith: Support in Principle. This is already supported in the RDN. The constraint is that an existing project would have to exist that could use the density transfer. It could not be “put in trust” hoping that another project might come up in the future.

3 Would you support the enactment of a RDN zoning bylaw requiring clustered or carefully placed development on lots of ten acres or more? For example, where the zoning allows 5-acre lots, a landowner with 20 acres could develop 4 carefully placed homes on 4 1-acre lots, the remaining acres being required to be protected by an ecoforestry covenant. A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed

 Sharon: Not Sure. This may be a practicable application in specific areas. I would research examples of this, implementation process, covenants on this development and community support.

Keith: Support in Principle. I think this was already considered at the RDN with a study undertaken back in 2014 or 2015.

4 Would you support a motion to develop an RDN Regional Conservation Fund, financed by a small increase in taxes to fund conservation projects on private lands, and to purchase private properties for conservation purposes? A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed

 Sharon: Not Sure. This is interesting. We all proclaim to want to preserve the rural nature of Area A. Very few people want to pay or can afford higher taxes. I think the Density Transfer Credit may be a more workable and productive system to preserve the required areas on private lands. The covenant on the property in exchange for the density provides more benefit for the entire community.

Keith: Support in Principle. I would have some concern over promoting land conservation on agricultural parcels. We need to protect the agricultural potential of private lands that are in the ALR and/or are currently being farmed.

5 Would you support asking the RDN to seek provincial amendment of Development Permit Area (DPA) rules, classifying all Coastal Douglas fir forest as an endangered ecosystem, enabling environmentally sensitive DPAs to be applied; requiring a permit for any subdivision; and strengthening the rules to require the clustering or careful placement of development, with the remaining forest being protected by an ecoforestry covenant?  

A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed


 Sharon: Support in Principle. Simple answer is Yes! It is a small biogeoclimatic zone requiring our diligence to preserve.

Keith: Support in Principle. I believe several resolutions involving protection of this kind have been proposed at the UBCM over the last two decades. I would support it particularly where the potential for damage to adjacent properties in terms of runoff and other ecological issues existed.

6 Would you support the asking the RDN to support the creation by the provincial government of a Coastal Douglas Fir Land Reserve, guaranteeing landowners’ development rights, but requiring that development be clustered and covenanted, as above, and still allowing logging, but only using ecoforestry principles? A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed

 Sharon: Support in Principle. Again simply Yes. This is another area where the Density Transfer Credits and accompanying covenants may assist.

Keith: Not Sure. I would need to see the particulars of this proposal. I get a sense that the devil would be in the details in this case.

7 Would you support the RDN taking strong action to tackle the climate crisis, and to prepare for its impacts? A – Support in Principle

B – Willing to Champion

C – Not Sure

D – Opposed

 Sharon: Not Sure: I am confident that public education is the key to successful implementation of tackling climate crisis. Enforcing strong action usually results in resistance rather than compliance or generating input and assistance. Brainstorming, community engagement, creating ideas of how we can help each other to achieve these goals provides solutions rather than regulations.

Keith: Support in Principle. The RDN, working with federal and provincial governments embarked on a study to determine changes in infrastructure needs due to climate change. As well, if I am successful in becoming Area A’s director, in my deliberations on many matters coming before the board, I will be looking at things through a climate change lens.

8 What initiatives will you take to communicate with people in Area A?
 Sharon: I have managed this campaign purely through social media and word of mouth. I go out and about in the community and am willing to meet and speak with any and all. I anticipate developing a more sophisticated web page that will provide the ability to leave messages and ideas and comments on specific issues and see the results of community input. My Facebook presence has generated much discussion and I look forward to providing information through my Twitter presence. I hope to access much of the community that has not made themselves known through the online venues while maintaining communication with other through phone and meetings – As the communities of Area A require.

Keith: During the campaign, I have said many times that I plan to meet in the community with residents on a regular basis. In a prior elected position, I did a “coffee with your councillor” session once a month at the local shopping mall. This worked very well to keep me in touch with residents and to provide them with an opportunity to get answers to their questions. As well, I will be available to meet any resident or group if they request it.

My Coast Now Candidate Profiles: HERE

Election Day: Saturday October 20th, 8am-8pm  Advance Voting: Wednesday October 17th, 8am-8pm

Locations: Cranberry Fire Hall, 1555 Morden Road, Nanaimo and Cedar Elementary School, 2215 Gould Rd, Cedar.

If you are 18 or over, you can register to vote on the day of the vote.

For details, see here.

Author: yellowpointecologicalsociety

We are a non-profit society. We work to understand, appreciate, protect and restore the ecosystems and watersheds in the Yellow Point area of Vancouver Island and to inspire and support local residents and visitors to do the same.

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