Managed growth, water use and parkland are big issues in the municipal election and Gabriola Island is no different.
The same issues affect the Gulf Island residents, just on a smaller scale.
Three candidates stepped up to run for Gabriola’s seat at the Regional District of Nanaimo table – Jordy Alexander, Howard Houle and Eric Moeller.
“I’m concerned for what goes on in my community,” Houle said, of his reasons for running in the election. “I don’t particularly have an agenda.”
The pottery artist, who is also former chairman of the Advisory Planning Council and the Agricultural Association, is concerned with the land-use functions of the RDN, such as rezoning and density.
He is concerned with other areas the RDN manages, such as parkland, Green wharf and the library, which he would like to see expanded.
Houle, who lived on Gabriola for the past 32 years, is also former chairman of the acquisitions committee for the Gabriola Historical Society.
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Moeller notes that Gabriola has one seat at the RDN table, which is comprised of 17 representatives from Nanaimo and the electoral areas. The island needs a strong voice to be heard, he said.
“I need to hear and reflect those needs,” Moeller said.
He is concerned with growth management and making sure that development is within the public and environmental best interest.
Part of that includes watershed protection, bulk water sales and improving or increasing parkland, as well as trail systems and bike lanes.
“There’s no where for them to ride,” he said.
Moeller, who lived on Gabriola the past 20 years, retired from Alberta where he worked for the Energy Resources Conservation Board, an energy regulator in that province.
He ran for a seat on the RDN in the past, as well as the Islands Trust, and served on the Ferry Advisory Committee, Mid-Island Co-op board of directors and is a marriage commissioner.
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Alexander believes Gabriola needs to be more attractive to young families to help balance the demographic on the island.
His key issues are sustainable ground water management, liquid waste management, parks and transit. He said a plan to run a bus on the island, connecting to Nanaimo’s transit system, sits in limbo.
“Every issue needs to be touched on slightly,” he said.
Alexander, who runs a general contracting company, volunteered with the fire department and B.C. Ambulance.
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Current Gabriola representative to the RDN, Gisele Rudischer, is running for one of two seats for the island at the Islands Trust board.