Q: What do you see as the main issue in Agassiz and how do you propose Council can address it?
A: I consider the main issue to be the continuing incursion of light industrial and commercial enterprises on land zoned and taxed for agriculture. This is a long-standing problem that is getting worse. Council and staff have been working to rectify this gradual takeover of farmland. However, the challengers for Council and Mayor are supportive of expanding commercial and light industrial uses on agriculture land, thereby jeopardizing future food production systems. If the citizens of the District of Kent value agriculture, they should take this voting opportunity to support the incumbents and preserve farmland.
Q: The Municipality needs to collect taxes to provide sufficient services to all of its members. Explain the benefits or pitfalls in providing tax breaks to businesses or farms as you understand it.
Traditionally, agriculture land has been taxed at a lower rate than land zoned for industrial, commercial, or residential use. This is a well-accepted practice because it assists in the production of food which is beneficial for everyone. However, a number of farmers have taken advantage of this lower tax rate by setting up light industrial or commercial enterprises on land taxed for agriculture, thereby having an economic advantage over their urban counterparts.
At the present time Council and staff are working to correct this inequity. However, the challengers for Mayor and Council want to overturn this initiative and sustain this unbalanced system. This election provides the opportunity for people living and/or operating businesses in the townsite to correct this tax imbalance by voting for the incumbents.
Q: While the community elects the Mayor and Councillors, the District staff does the day-to-day work of running operations. If elected, how do you plan to foster relationships within the workplace to keep the District running smoothly?
Regrettably, a number of candidates challenging for Mayor and Councillor positions have based their campaign on the dismissal of senior staff members. This threat has already jeopardized future trust and will discourage a constructive working relationship should these candidates be elected. If the threats are carried out without just cause, it would become a very costly, disruptive exercise and be demoralizing to everyone on staff.
Personally, I have an amicable and productive working relationship with senior staff based on mutual trust. Although we do not always agree on issues, discussions are carried out with respect and the business of the District moves forward in a constructive manner.