Duncan Election Survey

We asked all the Duncan candidates the following questions:

  1. Do you believe local government should invest significant funds in nature interpretation for tourists and local citizens?
  2. Do you believe the CVRD should have a Regional Growth Management Plan?
  3. Would you support a bylaw to protedt large healthy trees on private property?
  4. Would you support a bylaw to prohibit cosmetic uses of herbicides and pesticides on private property and in parks and public spaces?
  5. Do you support increased funding to increase the frequency and coverage of public transit?
  6. Would you support our local government enacting shoreline protection bylaws?
  7. Under what conditions would you support removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve?
  8. Do you have any other comments about the relationship between local government and the natural environment?
  9. How can we learn more about you?

Here’s how they answered:


Paul Fletcher and Phil Kent gave the same “yes” responses to the first 6 questions, so whoever is elected should be held to these actions. Here’s what they said on the last two questions:

Paul Fletcher

When the land is not viable for agriculture and when other land is added to the ALR. In other words keep the actual land inventory stable without losing more ground to grow food.


Local governments generally do not seek the views of Naturalists in any decision making. I would have a naturalist on both the Environment Committee and Advisory Planning Committee. For example, when the city wanted to cut the danger trees down in Rotary Park, Derrick Marven was consulted re the best time of the year to do this to have the least amount of impact on wildlife.

Phil Kent

I would not generally support the removal of land from the ALR. In some rare instances with small acreages there may be conditions which would allow consideration of removal dependant on surrounding uses and soil with very low or no agricultural potential. There should also be a process that might add new ALR land, where it may be held in a reserve for another purpose, that could be traded for new agriculture land if that was determined as a more appropriate land use.

Local government is in the best position to influence our impact on the natural environment through well considered land use planning and decision processes. Local Government should also advocate for responsible resource use of the land bases and watersheds that provide essential eco system services to our communities and all others species. As local government, we can communicate and learn together with the community, the important context of real costs, benefits and opportunities of preserving and enhancing the natural environment.


We had responses from 7 candidates, as with the mayors, they mostly agreed on the first 6 questions, except for Michelle Staples who did not favour government support for nature interpretation. Below are their answers to the questions on the ALR and on the relationship between government and nature. We can say nothing about the opinions of the candidates who did not respond.

Ranjit Dhami Only when there is no doubt that the land can not be used for agriculture. Everything impacts the environment, before we act that thought should always be first on our minds.
Jen Holden Only in the case of for example, Providence Farm, where a small section of the ARL would be subdivided to create affordable, eco housing that would support our most vulnerable citizens. Farms are location for community and resiliency building so i would like to see support given to those farmers/organizations who wish to make their farm inclusive to more people. There would have to be very strict limits to how many units, and they would have to have extremely low impact on the environmental and also contribute back to the eco system (green roofs, geothermal heating, rain catchment system, compostable toilets, ex..) we are at a cross roads,our communities are stretching beyond their natural limits and I believe that Local government needs to start playing a more proactive and innovative leadership role to ensure that we are planning for a future where all our community can thrive within its natural limits. I believe in resiliency building, which means all stakeholders in our community working together. Local government needs to do a better job at facilitating dialogue and collaboration in order to become a sustainable and resilient community. I believe that youth need to play a more active leadership role in local government, we are the next generations of stewards for our community and natural environment, and we need to have equal voice in the creation of the future we will be fully responsible for.
Cassandra Barfield Decisions we make need to be done with respect for our environment both now and for future implications.
Dana Arthurs At this point I would not support any changes.
Agricultural land should be preserved just as green space for parks should be.
I was elected to the Area I parks and recreation commission every two years for five years. I served 11 years on the commission with four and a half years as the Chairperson. In that time and to the best of my knowledge it is still common practice to ensure green space is protected when developers come into the community. We never once agreed to taking funds instead of land. As such Area I has many protected spaces that are zoned as park land.
I am a strong advocate of ensuring trees and space are protected for the community.
Judy Stafford At this point, I would be extremely hesitant to support any lands being removed from the ALR. My only real concern is that as new bylaws, such as those suggested here, are introduced that they be handled in a very open and communicative manner with the public. A significant amount of education has to proceed any suggested bylaws – case in point in Cowichan Bay when it was suggested that a shoreline protection bylaw was in the works I understand some residents proceeded to cut down trees in anticipation of being told they would not be allowed to do that in the future. This kind of preemptive action needs to mitigated however possible.
Sharon Jackson This would obviously have to be on a case by case basis. I think the development of the ALR was one of the wisest things ever done to protect land in this province, and I would be extremely cautious about removing land for any but the most critical of reasons. I cannot imagine what those reasons would be. Interestingly, there have been studies done which actually attach a monetary value to urban forests, wilderness areas, lakes and ponds. I think once local governments understand that preserving and protecting the natural environment actually has economic value, they might be less likely to take it for granted.
Michelle Staples Having owned property in the ALR in the past I would support changes to ALR land restrictions that do not support the sustainability of family farming but not removing ALR status from land.
I would support it in situations where due to the fragility of the ecosystem or water basin on ALR land the land be taken out in order to protect it and situations pertaining to Aboriginal land treaties.
Every infrastructure decision local governments make have an impact on the natural environment. local governments play a fundamental role in protecting the environmental health of the lands, air and waters of its communities and those around them. Land know no boudaries so what we allow into our rivers and streams reaches out to all of our neighbors.It is the responsibility of alll governments to ensure that every decision they make considers its potential effects on the environment and works to enhance and support the environmental impacts rather than placing them in jeopardy by viewing them as seperate.