Serving his fourth term on City Council, Doug remains motivated by a commitment to public service, a deep love for the Comox Valley and a passionate belief in our shared responsibility to work together for the common good.
As a long time resident and an experienced City Councillor, Doug has been a leader in many city projects and initiatives, working collaboratively with local businesses, community groups and individuals to address the complex issues and challenges of a growing community.
Response To Housing and Homelessness
Doug has served as the Council representative on the Coalition to End Homelessness and has taken a lead role lobbying the provincial government for additional housing and support services.
While the City does not have either the financial resources or the mandate to build or operate housing or run food and social programs, here is what we have done over the last few years:
- provided land to the M’Akola Society and BC Housing to build the Braidwood apartments (35 units) and the Junction supportive housing project (46 units);
- provided grants to Habitat for Humanity in support of their housing projects on Lake Trail Road and McPhee;
- worked with the Coalition to End Homelessness, including grants and staff support;
- provided the Coalition and Transition Society with a City building to operate the Connect Warming Centre;
- lobbied the provincial government to provide more supportive housing and services to address street disorder – 4 meetings with AG & Housing Minister Eby in the past year;
- negotiated provision of affordable units in market rental housing now being constructed;
- currently working with Wachiay Friendship Centre on housing project for indigenous seniors (35 units);
- successfully lobbied BC Housing to move forward 2nd stage housing project (40 units) for women and children who have experienced violence.
- provided grants to Lush Valley Food Action Society for their Good Food Box program;
- provided land for Lush Valley’s community garden and civic facilities for their community kitchen to operate during the pandemic;
- supported establishment of a regional food policy council and a food hub.
In response to concerns from downtown business, community agencies and citizens, Doug spearheaded the initiative for Council to establish a free-standing washroom facility in our downtown. Courtenay’s first public washroom is now available to downtown residents around the clock.
Parks and Recreation:
Doug is a strong advocate for parks and recreation, including youth and seniors programming, walking trails, playing fields and pickleball courts.
The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is working to ensure recreation programs and facilities are keeping up with community need. Three key initiatives are underway in 2022 to inform and engage the public on long-term planning for recreation services:
• Aquatics: With support from the City of Courtenay, the CVRD is drafting an Aquatics Strategy on swimming, reviewing programs and facilities to help guide decision-making in the years to come. A draft strategy will be ready in summer 2022. Get the details at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/aquaticstrategy
• Adult Ice Use: Input received over the winter/early spring about the use of district ice facilities by adult users is now being collected in a summary report with results to be incorporated into future planning. More details available at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/adultice
• Sports Fields: The CVRD will be collecting feedback from residents on sports field use in the valley, to help optimize field time and ensure diverse programming opportunities are available for all ages and interests. Get involved by visiting www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/fielduse
Climate Change and the Official Community Plan (OCP):
Courtenay has joined many other local governments in recognizing the climate crisis we are experiencing, and addressing climate change is a key focus of our updated OCP. City staff used innovative approaches to engage community members in the Plan’s development, given the challenges of the pandemic, to determine our four key themes of climate action, reconciliation, equity, and community well-being. The City has committed to achieving a 45% reduction in community-wide GHG emissions (from 2016 level) by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. This OCP includes strategies, actions, and measures to reduce emissions to target levels while saving on energy costs and improving quality of life for Courtenay residents.
Doug has been an active participant in the development of the OCP, while also supporting the Comox Valley Youth Environmental Action group, taking part in the elected officials Climate Caucus and advocating for climate action at the Regional District.
Transportation Master Plan:
While working on long-term planning for transportation, Doug has also advocated for neighbourhood traffic safety including crosswalks, inter-section improvements and reduced speed limits. Work continues with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to widen the bypass and improve traffic flow at the 17th Street bridge. Work also continues on improving our pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
Comox Valley Sewer Conveyance Project:
Doug was elected Chair of the Comox Valley Sewage Commission in February of 2021, taking on a key role in the implementation of the Comox Valley Sewer Conveyance Project, a multi-million dollar project that will replace and upgrade the system that moves 14,000 cubic metres of raw sewage each day from homes and businesses in Courtenay and Comox to the sewage treatment plant on Brent Road.
The project is a key outcome of the Comox Valley Sewer Service’s Liquid Waste Management Plan. The CVRD shared next steps for the plan and the conveyance project at open houses for the community in April. More opportunities for public engagement will be available in late fall as the CVRD plans for construction, including traffic management. Ground breaking is expected in spring 2023 and the CVRD is committed to keeping the public updated through to project completion in fall 2024.
For more information about this project or to sign up to receive updates visit: www.connectcvrd.ca/conveyanceproject
Doug has been the City’s liaison to the Kus-kus-sum project since its inception, working with the K’omoks First Nation and Project Watershed to acquire the former sawmill site and restore it to pre-colonial status. Seen here with Caila Vorster from Project Watershed and Jody Wilson-Raybould, Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Doug remains a strong advocate of indigenous reconciliation and environmental restoration through such action.