Nicole Minions is one of four under-35 candidates seeking election to Comox Town Council. She hopes to bring developers back to Comox to create a broader mix of affordable housing choices, introduce sustainability initiatives and increase public engagement

 

For Nicole Minions, being elected to the Comox Council means an opportunity to help shape the town as a livable community for future generations.

“I have three children, one is just a year old, so I’m looking at the town with a long-term perspective,” she told Decafnation.

She’s one of four under-35-year-old candidates seeking office this year in Comox.

Minions, who moved here from the Lower Mainland five years ago, wants to bring sustainability practices to the town, increase public engagement with the council, address affordable housing and find ways to encourage businesses and create jobs.

She would bring experience from 11 years in the banking industry as well many years in the nonprofit sector.

“No matter what my job was, I’ve always had a part-time nonprofit job,” she said.

During her two years as CEO of SOS Children’s Village — a housing provider for foster families and children in the Vancouver area — she became aware of how access to housing creates a social divide

Now, as a buyer’s agent and Realtor with Royal LePage’s Comox office, Minions sees a lack of multi-unit housing in Comox, and affordable housing in general.

FURTHER READING: For more interviews with candidates, go to our Elections 2018 page

“We have a borderline housing crisis,” she said. “Prices are up due to the demand and there’s a shortage of affordable properties, like townhouses, on the market.”

Minions says that is partly the town’s own fault.

She knows of developers who have walked away from projects because they found the town development requirements, and its process, too challenging to work with. She would like to change that.

She says the development process needs to be more transparent. And she’d like to bring potential developers into the town to discuss ways of making it easier for them to navigate as a step toward creating more affordable housing for young adults, families and seniors.

Minions would like the town to be more proactive.

“The town seems to wait for builders to come to us with a proposal,” she said. “But we could be more strategic about where developments go, what land and for what purpose.”

Minions points to the abandoned Comox Elementary school as a site where the town could take suggestions to the property owner.

Minions supports the Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy and would champion initiatives like the banning of plastic bags.

And she isn’t putting up election signs, which she says become visual eyesores. Retiring council member Hugh McKinnon swore off election signs years ago.

“I want people to vote for me predicated on what I’m going to do,” she said.

Minions would like to address Comox’s contribution to improved air quality, but wants the town to gather data about how many wood burning devices there are within the town. She supports not allowing wood burners in new construction, and wants to explore and promote incentives for converting existing units.

Minions has gotten some campaign advice from her sister, who is a councillor in Port Alberni and running for the mayor’s office this year.

“They (Port Alberni) have lots of serious issues we don’t have. We have a relatively good base, a good foundation,” she said. “That makes it a great time to introduce sustainability initiatives.”

One of Minions other priorities is to create a public platform for residents to share ideas with council members. She likes the idea of holding council meetings with no agenda except to listen to the public.

“We hear a lot from the maybe five percent of citizens who want the status quo,” she said. “But I’d like to hear more from the huge percentage of the community’s 14,000 residents that are not engaged.”

She feels the Town Council sometimes runs on an inward approach, how they see issues. She would steer council more toward listening to the public and keeping an open mind, making “more folks feel that they can advocate.”

She would carry the philosophy of involving as many stakeholders as possible into the creation of a new Official Community Plan in 2019.

 

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