If the town’s elected officials have their way, the council chambers will remain as-is for the next three years.
As nominations begin streaming in this week, councillors Franklin Hornbrook, Bob Day, Jayne Ingram, and Tim McGonigle will be included in the running, alongside mayor Ross Forrest.
The following are the rationales for each politician’s decision to vie for re-election.
“I’m definitely running again. I enjoy it! I feel that it’s very important what we’ve done,” mayor Ross Forrest said.
“I’m sure the other four councillors are running again. It’s no individual I’m thinking about. It’s a team.”
With this coming election, Forrest will being with him a few goals. He’s quick to point out that these goals are in conjunction with the work of the town’s other four elected officials, and not just himself.
One goal is with regard to downtown revitalization.
“We’re already got a start with the town getting re-paved next year. I”m also excited about the new library getting built,” he said.
The town’s stretch of South Shore Road is set to get re-paved by the Ministry of Highways next year.
Along with the re-paving of South Shore Road will bring improvements along the road, using town funds.
“We’ve got to find a way to improve our town,” Forrest said.
Another goal is with improving upon tourism in the area, including a focus on the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The town’s elected officials have already held a few meetings with stakeholders along the route, and have more meetings planned.
“We definitely want to see the downtown business core thrive,” Forrest said.
“Three years isn’t enough to fulfill all of the promises, the visions, and the long-term goals we set,” councillor Bob Day said. “I really love being able to take my opinions and education toward real decisions on where tax dollars are spent… I love being part of the town and getting things done.”
Day admits that his first term was quite the learning experience, which grounded him into the reality of what elected officials are capable of doing.
“But, I’m glad I jumped in with both feet,” he said. “There’s a lot of information to digest.”
“I’d like to push for a better education system, and a revitalization of downtown,” he said.
Day has also been an advocate for a Neighbourhood of Learning model in town, wherein different community services would tie into a new elementary school in town. A youth group in town is another goal he’s looking forward to seeing something materialize out of.
“I’d also like to see affordable seniors housing pushed a bit,” he said.
“I said three years ago that I wanted to give back to the community, and I want to continue to do that,” councillor Jayne Ingram said. “There are some things I would like to see to completion.”
“It was a very big learning curve,” she said.
The main thing this coming term, she said, is improving upon the business community. It’s a shame to see so many businesses having closed their doors.
“I would like to see the filling of some of the businesses downtown,” she said, adding that it’ll be interesting to see if the revitalization tax exemptions are utilized as they are intended; to temporarily freeze taxes, encouraging the development of properties without the financial penalty.
Most recently, Ingram has been instrumental in organizing the Movie in the Park events at Central Park, and has plans of organizing more such events in the future.
“There’s still some stuff on the go that I’d like to get finished,” councillor Tim McGonigle said.
The new library, Neighbourhood of Learning, a youth centre, major Public Works projects, “I’d like to see them all through,” he said.
If re-elected, it would be McGonigle’s fourth term.
The town’s other four elected officials, if re-elected, would enter their second term.
“I hope that we come along with downtown revitalization, and encourage more businesses into the community,” he said.
“I still enjoy it. When it’s not fun for everyone, it’s time to move on,” he said.
“I look forward to working with everyone that sits at the table.”
With every councillor allowed one vote each, McGonigle is reluctant to make any specific campaign promises, as it will depend on the will of the board, not just himself.
Sitting on the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-operative board, McGonigle would like to see some more forestry jobs in town.
“We’re looking forward to a little more volume, and we hope to bring that to a local mill,” he said.
“I enjoyed the first three years, and we didn’t finish what we started,” councillor Franklin Hornbrook said, when asked why he’s running again.
The main thing he’s looking forward to seeing out will be the re-paving of South Shore Road, and whatever may come along with it.
“I want to see this town look a lot prettier,” he said.
As the town’s finance chair, Hornbrook is proud of the town’s financial situation, wherein the only debt is related to the town’s fire hall and ambulance building.
The town’s wealth of reserve funds, which the town puts money into every year to pay for things down the road as they ware out, is an excellent step in the right direction, he said.