In her third term representing Texada Island (Area D) on qathet Regional District’s (qRD) board of directors, Sandy McCormick already has some matters for the agenda.
McCormick said she was very pleased to be re-elected to the regional board.
“It was a decisive margin,” said McCormick. “A contest is always healthy and I was really glad for the opportunity to have a contest because that’s how you put the issues forward.
“As we go into the next four years, keeping the island independent and resilient and strong, and having local services and local empowerment, is important. For example, if there was a disaster and we were cut off, that we could survive for a period of time within our own community. So, I think resilience and independence is a big issue.”
McCormick said one issue she wants to address locally, which came out during the election campaign, is active transportation, otherwise known as bike paths. She said there was a proposal in 2014 to put a bike path on the island between Shelter Point Park and Gillies Bay, before she was first elected. The proposal was turned down by a majority of respondents.
She believes, given an increase of active transportation on Texada Island, that it’s time to revisit the proposal. She said there is money available for active transportation corridors. Ideally, she would like to see a bike path from the ferry terminal at Blubber Bay to Shelter Point Park, connecting Van Anda and Gillies Bay, she added.
“Things like that won’t happen overnight and there has to be community discussions,” said McCormick. “I’m hoping, starting in January, to have a big town hall meeting on Texada to find out what people think. Should it be a separated path or attached to the road, which is cheaper? It makes it safer for visitors and locals to ride.”
Another issue McCormick would like to see solved is public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on the island. She said someone travelling over in an EV needs to know somebody with a charging station in order to charge their vehicle.
“That’s something we need to do to improve things for visitors,” added McCormick.
She said in the last term, the regional board approved a motion for two EVG charging stations on Texada, and staff members were empowered to go out and find grant money to pay for it.
“I’m hoping that is going to come back pretty soon,” added McCormick.
She said that during the recently concluded election campaign, there were a number of things mentioned about the official community plan (OCP), about giving away freedoms, and that is not the case. She said the OCP does not stipulate changes to matters such as no regulations or restrictions on development and permitting.
She said a big item for the next term is sporadic internet services on the island.
“It’s so variable and it’s not really stable,” added McCormick. “One of the things I will continue to work on is high-speed internet access for everybody, so no matter where you live on the island, you’ll be able to connect. Through the Connected Coast project, which we are now part of, I see that happening. It could bear fruit in upping the bandwidth available for islanders.
“There’s lots of things to do this term coming up, that’s for sure.”
McCormick and other area directors will be sworn in during a ceremony at Powell River City Hall on Tuesday, November 1.