New Years has always been a symbolic landmark to observe the past year's accomplishments and to set new goals for the year to come. I love cleansing the past year with something fun and outrageous; this year the shiver should fit the bill, it's a perfect way to start the year with a bang!
Looking back on 2017 I am truly grateful for all my mentors who helped me along the way. A special thank you to Sonia Furstenau and to Ian Morrison (Area Director for Cowichan Lake) who both continue to offer their support and collaborate whenever possible. 2017 was a year of learning, planning and strategizing. Some accomplishments worth celebrating are; I quickly set to task as Area Director after the provincial election, I earned the respect of the CVRD Board and I know they will support me as a Director and us as a community.
In 2018 I will continue to support such groups as the Shawnigan Research Group (SRG) as they tirelessly work towards protecting the community from the looming contaminated soil dump. Work has already begun with the Shawnigan Residence Association (SRA) to help curtail illegal garbage dumping and a focused plan will commence late winter. Milfoil has become one of the communities top priorities and I am currently securing funding to get a proper plan in place. It’s not going to be an easy endeavour, but we all have a vested interest in the health of our lake. As a community we have proven we can do anything.
Just recently I was appointed Vice-Chair to Electoral Services I hope to continue learning in that position and bring together the Electoral Area Directors to strategize on how we can work together tohelp support each others communities even more. As an Electoral Area it is extremely difficult to have funds returned back to the community. Over the next few months I look forward to working with other Directors to ensure more of our community’s needs are met and discovering how we can work together for a more prosperous outcome. They are a great group of people, so I am confident things will only be looking up for all of the Cowichan Valley. On that note; I wish you all a happy, healthy andprosperous 2018. Love it, Share it, Protect it!
FB: Sierra Acton Area B
Next Director’s Meeting February 5th, 2018
Just 706 eligible voters participated out of 6,137 registered in the electoral area
Sierra Acton has won the byelection on Sept. 30 to fill the seat for Shawnigan Lake on the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s board.
Acton took 427 votes in the byelection while challenger Bill Savage took 110 votes and Larry Jorginson won just 69 votes.
There are 6,137 registered voters in the electoral area.
The vote was called after former director Sonia Furstenau won the Cowichan Valley riding for the Green Party in the last provincial election, becoming MLA.
Acton was Furstenau’s alternate with the CVRD during her term, and has worked as interim director since Furstenau’s election.
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She will serve as director until the fall of 2018 when the next municipal elections in the province will take place.
Acton said she will continue to work on her three top priorities for the area, as well as other important issues, now that she has won the byelection.
The three priorities are road improvements, making the village at Shawnigan Lake viable, and water protection.
“I intend to continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to find funds and tools to make local roads safer,” Acton said.
“As well, I’ve set up meetings this week with groups and stakeholders in Shawnigan Lake to discuss ways to make the village more viable, and I’m hoping to have these meetings on a more regular basis.”
As for water protection, Acton said she’s working hard to stop the endless number of dump trucks from Victoria that are dumping soil in at least 13 illegal dump sites near Shawnigan Lake.
The CVRD is in the process of developing a new bylaw to address the practice, which has become a major concern for many in the area.
In a previous interview, Robert Blackmore, the CVRD’s bylaw enforcement manager, said the potential impacts from large-volume soil dumping on private lands are prominent in the Shawnigan Lake area and can include siltation and turbidity in creeks and water courses, riparian area damage, leachate from contaminated soils as well as damage to roads and traffic safety.
“I’ll push hard to see that this bylaw is passed at the board level,” Acton said.
As for the low turnout for the byelection, Acton said she has heard that many voters didn’t know there was a byelection while others didn’t know where they were supposed to vote.
“I think there are some lessons to be learned here,” she said
Finally, the sun is shining! It was a long winter, but that did not stop me and my dog, Sam, from enjoying the Kinsol Trestle and Mount Baldy. They are two of my favourite places and I appreciate both these landmarks not only for their natural beauty, but also for the monumental community involvement it took to make them what they are. Even today the community continues to build legacies. For example, the Elsie Miles Pavilion and the Museum expansion are underway.
The Cowichan Valley said loud and clear that we want to protect the area we live in when we elected Sonia Furstenau as our MLA. Working with Sonia as her Alternate Director over the last year has given me a first-hand view of how important a Director's role is to the community we serve. She had the ability to solve issues by bringing groups and people together and by working closely with other levels of government and never forgetting we are all human. In my opinion the best part of being a Director is meeting people, although I do enjoy the presentations and conversations around the board table. Every day I am connecting with new and familiar faces. My strength is helping inspire people to an idea I am passionate about: I focus on the positive, I see people’s strengths and I love connecting them with others. Given how complex this role is I am honored to have been entrusted with this position and will seek to be elected as Area Director in the by-election this fall.
Sonia Furstenau built many amazing teams, including a Parks and Trails Team, a Museum Expansion/ Fundraising Team, an Elsie Mills Improvement Team and a Safety Advisory Group. Should you wish to join any of these teams or get involved in another way I would love to hear from you. We are the biggest unincorporated area in BC, so this is truly a group effort. I welcome any advice, input or simply would love to hear your story of why you call Shawnigan Lake home.
We are moving forward and I plan to keep the momentum going, I hope you will join me, in service, Sierra Acton.