Rob Douglas, who has served on North Cowichan council for two terms, is running for mayor in the municipal elections on Oct. 15.
Douglas is the second candidate to throw their hat in the ring so far in the race for mayor after former councillor Joyce Behnsen announced her intention to run in April.
He was first elected to council in 2014 and again in 2018.
During that time, Douglas, who was born and raised in North Cowichan, has also served as a director for North Cowichan on the board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
“We are facing a number of growing challenges in North Cowichan, from a lack of affordable housing and homelessness, to environmental degradation and effects of climate change, to a loss of high-paying jobs and a rising cost of living,” Douglas said.
“Local government can’t solve all these problems on its own, but we can certainly do more.”
Douglas said more and more people are losing their lives to the ongoing opioid crisis, which is also impacting the broader community and local businesses, so solutions must be found.
He said North Cowichan needs to look at how other jurisdictions are dealing with this crisis and learn from them.
“We need to work with other municipalities on this issue because we can’t do it on our own,” Douglas said.
“We have limited resources at the local level, so we also need to advocate hard for more help from senior levels of government, Island Health, and BC Housing to get the supports in place that are needed to deal with the opioid crisis and its related problems.”
Douglas said that with a strong track record as a municipal councillor and community volunteer, he believes that he can provide the strong leadership and new ideas that the municipality will need to work with local residents to address the big issues facing the community.
“My top priorities as mayor, if given that privilege by the people of North Cowichan, will be to tackle the affordable housing crisis, defend the environment, build a strong local economy, create safe neighbourhoods, and maintain rural character,” he said.
“Through hard work, involving local residents in decision-making, and aggressively lobbying the senior levels of government, we can accomplish a great deal over the next four years.”
Prior to his involvement in municipal politics, Douglas served on a wide range of community organizations including the boards for the Cowichan Land Trust and Volunteer Cowichan.
In addition, for several years he wrote for the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial.
For more than a decade, Douglas has been employed by the province, currently as a director in the area of post-secondary education and skills training, and before that as a policy analyst with responsibilities for Indigenous education, immigration policy, and newcomer settlement.
He had previously worked in the pulp and paper, forestry, and construction industries.
“My family has deep roots in the Cowichan Valley that go back five generations,” Douglas said.
“I currently live near Mount Tzouhalem with my wife, two daughters, and our boxer Daisy, where we enjoy hiking, swimming and playing sports.”
To learn more about Douglas and his priorities, or to contact him directly, visit his website at www.robdouglas.ca or follow him on Facebook.