The Week: Strong CV women in charge.  What did 3L pay? Plus, CVEDS bungles, Comox raises

The Week: Strong CV women in charge. What did 3L pay? Plus, CVEDS bungles, Comox raises

“You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor  |  George Le Masurier photo

The Week: Strong CV women in charge. What did 3L pay? Plus, CVEDS bungles, Comox raises

By George Le Masurier

This week we’re all about 3L Developments (again), more head-shaking activity from the CV Economic Development Society (again) and ditto (again) for the Comox Town Council.

But first, let’s congratulate Jesse Ketler and Arzeena Hamir on their re-election as chair and co-chair of the Comox Valley Regional District board. Two strong women at the helm. We’re in good hands.

And kudos to another strong woman who joined the CVRD board this week. Courtenay Councillor Melanie McCollum replaced David Frisch as one of the city’s four regional directors.


Decafnation has received information that back in 2007, 3L Developments Inc. might have paid somewhere around $1.5 million to purchase the four parcels of land totalling nearly 500 acres in what’s being called the Puntledge Triangle.

We have not verified that number, nor have we seen any official documents that list the 2007 sale price.

But for the last 13 years, the company has tried to persuade the regional district to abandon its Regional Growth Strategy and rezone the properties for a dense urban-style subdivision.

Those four parcels today have an assessed value of $4.222 million. We got those numbers directly from the BC Assessment website.

If the sale price is even close to accurate, then 3L has enjoyed a significant increase in value. Of course, it’s nothing near the profit the company would have realized if the regional district had approved a rezoning.

Did 3L ever really plan to develop the property itself? Or, was its end-plan only to get the parcels rezoned, which would have made the land much more valuable, and then flip the parcels to some other developer?

We’ll never know.

Instead, the debate now shifts to whether the regional district should attempt to purchase the property from 3L Developments. Buying the property for parkland and securing public access to Stotan Falls would certainly win popularity points with the general public. But taking on more parkland is expensive.

There’s no indication yet that regional directors have any interest in negotiating a purchase.

And who knows how they feel after hearing company spokesperson Rob Buchan’s sales pitch to them this week. Buchan said 3L prefers to sell the land to the regional district. But, if you don’t buy the property, he intimated the company would clear-cut the trees and turn the site into a gravel pit. We’ll turn your jewel into a blight.

Not exactly a feel-good proposition.

But the company is certainly entitled to do those things. And if their only interest is self-interest, then that’s probably what will happen.


Does the CV Economic Development Society need to fold its tent? Representatives of the three electoral areas, Courtenay, Comox and the regional district will start seeking an answer to that question on Jan. 19.

Regional directors had planned for the full board to assess the future of CVEDS over the next year. But the Comox Town Council decided unanimously to derail that plan and trigger a quicker statutory service review.

What’s the difference? First, a smaller group will negotiate whether there’s any common ground to save the 32-year-old society; and, second, if Comox doesn’t like the outcome of the review, then they can officially withdraw from the service.

Given the Economic Development Society’s recent missteps, the outcome may already be a foregone conclusion. The directors from Courtenay and Electoral Areas A and B are not happy. While the directors from Comox and Area C would preserve the society in its present form if they could. That’s a 3-2 straight-up vote.

And CVEDS has not helped its chances for survival recently. Consider that:

1) CVEDS staff planned a three-day seafood festival during the second pandemic wave in November without the knowledge of its own board of directors or the CVRD or the Comox Valley Regional District. The North Island Public Health department had to step in and when hoteliers got uncomfortable, the event was shut down.

Bringing in guests and featured chefs from the Lower Mainland and Ontario had the potential to create a COVID super-spreader event.

2) The society’s board of directors have not seen or approved any financial statements for 11 months. This not only contravenes the Societies Act, but it’s also an affront to Comox Valley taxpayers who fund the organization.

3) The society has not held an Annual General Meeting for 17 months. Again, in conflict with the Societies Act.

4) CVEDS signed a new two-year contract with the regional district in late July, and then quickly forgot most of it. The society is already in contravention of the agreement and has missed several contractual deadlines.

And then there’s this:

5) On March 12, the local hotels and assorted other accommodation facilities that voluntarily contribute funds to the Municipal and Regional District Tax program (MRDT) — often called the “hotel tax” — decided at their annual budget meeting to help fund mountain biking in Cumberland.

The MRDT group voted to donate $10,000 per year for three years to support the United Riders of Cumberland (UROC) that maintains the biking trails in the Cumberland Forest and organizes events.

The hoteliers also agreed to donate an additional $5,000 per year for three years as prize money for those events to increase participation and potential overnight stays in the Valley.

But several months later, UROC hadn’t received any money. After Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird phoned some of the hoteliers about the funds it was discovered that CVEDS staff had apparently and unilaterally decided to withdraw the donations.

This infuriated the hoteliers because, well, it’s their money and they get to decide how to spend it.

Does this sound like a well-run organization, one that deserves to continue receiving more than a million dollars a year of local taxpayers’ money?

If you have strong feelings about that one way or the other, you might want to let your representative in Comox, Courtenay or the three electoral areas know before Jan. 19.


Finally, this week, the Comox town councillors think they might be underpaid.

At its Nov. 18 meeting, the council voted to undertake a review of remuneration for the mayor and council. Keep in mind that one of the first things this council did after taking office in 2018 was to vote themselves a 14 percent pay increase.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic. People have lost jobs. Businesses have closed or lost significant profitability. If this second wave of COVID infections continues to surge, the province might impose even more negative economic impacts.

It’s possible this council might be tone-deaf.

But it is true that Comox council salaries are a little below the average of comparable municipalities. Of course, chasing the average just raises the average. You never get there. It’s like a dog chasing its tail.

That said, however, we have no argument with compensating elected officials fairly. The good ones put in long hours.

Maybe it’s just the optics that feel wrong about this. Comox councillors obviously want to raise their salaries early next year because municipal elections loom the following year. And from a political perspective, it’s better if voters forget about two wage hikes during one term in office before the polls open in 2022.

The citizens advisory group that will study and recommend whether Comox councillors deserve a second raise will comprise just three people, including one former councillor. We think a larger, more representative group of Comox taxpayers might be more objective.

And who will choose and appoint this (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) neutral group? Why the town’s chief administrative officer, of course, who is employed at the pleasure of the mayor and council.



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CV governments apply for infrastructure funds to ease pandemic economic recovery

CV governments apply for infrastructure funds to ease pandemic economic recovery

Courtenay and District Museum building  |  George Le Masurier photo

CV governments apply for infrastructure funds to ease pandemic economic recovery

By George Le Masurier

All four of the Comox Valley’s local governments have applied for provincial funds designated to help BC communities recover from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic.

The provincial government set aside $90 million to provide one-time, 100 percent funding for projects — up to $1 million each — that meet one of four objectives:

— Community economic resilience
— Destination development
— Unique heritage infrastructure
— Rural economic recovery

Projects will be chosen from the applications based on their contribution toward creating immediate new employment or re-employing laid-off workers. The projects have to begin before Dec. 31, 2021, and complete by March 31, 2023.

Decafnation asked each local government what they applied to do.


Comox has applied to complete phase two of its marina enhancement plan. It hopes to receive funds for a new marine services building.


Courtenay city staff have worked with and supported the Courtenay Museum to renovate and build a new section onto the existing facility.

The city also negotiated with the provincial granting agency to get the Sixth Street bridge included. But the complexity and environmental aspects of the project could not meet the 2021 deadline for starting the construction.


Cumberland applied to rebuild the village’s No. 2 dam, hydro generation and Unnamed Creek remediation project.

It has also applied for infrastructure development of water services on the Bevan Lands and infrastructure upgrades and improvement for Cumberland Lake Park. If the Bevan Lands project did not qualify for timing reasons, the village planned to also apply for renovations of the field house and washroom facilities at its Village Park.

In another application, Cumberland applied to the separate but related Childcare BC New Spaces Fund for up to $3 million to create new childcare spaces within the village.


The regional district submitted six applications, four to the federal infrastructure program and two to the province.

The federal applications include the Denman Island water treatment project, phase one of the Baynes Sound sewer extension project, a retrofit of the CV Sports Centre mezzanine area and a Shingle Spit boat launch project.

The provincial applications included expansion of the Seal Bay parking lot and the Merville Hall food hub project.



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The Week: COVID in the Valley, future of 3L property and a possible Grieve connection

The Week: COVID in the Valley, future of 3L property and a possible Grieve connection

George Le Masurier photo

The Week: COVID in the Valley, future of 3L property and a possible Grieve connection

By George Le Masurier

This week we’re thinking about COVID in the Comox Valley, vaccines and an Island bubble. But we haven’t forgotten about 3L Developments and the Economic Development Society or how Area C Director Edwin Grieve weaves a common thread between those two controversial issues. Plus we’re having a random thought about religious zealots

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry delivered a sobering report yesterday along with new orders restricting travel and social gatherings and making it mandatory to wear masks in all public and retail indoor spaces.

Henry was reacting to the sharp rise in new COVID infections across the province, which has occurred primarily because people have let down their guard. It’s evident right here in the Comox Valley.

Before these news orders, if you walked into any local store, big or small, you could have been surrounded by people without masks. If you had peeked inside any gym or recreation centre, you might have seen people huffing and puffing without masks, sometimes where spin bikes were located in common areas.

And, good heavens, what was Comox Valley Economic Development Officer John Watson thinking when he planned a three-day Seafood Festival for last weekend? Bringing in chefs from the Lower Mainland and Ontario?

Thank goodness the North Island medical health officer stepped in and the saner minds of local hoteliers helped kill that reckless plan.


Now that the Comox Valley Regional District has rejected the idea of amending the Regional Growth Strategy — for a third time* — what will become of the 500 acres in the Puntledge Triangle that encompasses Stotan Falls? There are many possibilities.

The first option is, of course, the possibility that 3L could develop the property according to its current RU-20 zoning, which it is free to do. But a 50-acre minimum lot size won’t have wide market appeal.

Another option, one that many people fear, is that 3L will log the property and turn it into a gravel pit.

Owner Dave Dutcyvich has threatened to do this if the CVRD refuses to amend the Regional Growth Strategy to permit a high density subdivision. And he would presumably continue to deny public access to Stotan Falls and withdraw his offer of parkland.

But it’s dubious whether there is enough gravel in the ground to make such an endeavour feasible. And it wouldn’t be the first time the property has been logged.

Supporters of the company’s plan argue that maintaining access to a swimming hole used a few months of the year and the acquisition of another regional park are worth the price of giving in to 3L.

3L’s opponents and others disagree. They believe that undermining the crux of the Regional Growth Strategy would open up the floodgates for a line-up of developers just waiting for the precedent that might return us to the good old days of uncontrolled growth on less expensive rural land.

They think it’s more important to save the principle of urban containment that is embodied in the RGS.

However, 3L has more options. After a one-year waiting period, the company could try to find another local jurisdiction willing to support the idea of amending the Regional Growth Strategy. The Town of Comox, perhaps. Or the City of Courtenay.

3L could also try to convince the City of Courtenay to annex the portion of the property south of the Puntledge River. This area is closer to the city’s current boundaries and was identified by 3L — in an after-the-fact revision of their latest application — as a potential site for its Riverwood development.

But that option faces its own difficulties. While the property is identified as a future settlement expansion area, the city could not annex any piece of it without providing satisfactory servicing. Convincing the Courtenay Council to take on more long-term infrastructure debt to extend water and sewer lines seems like a long-shot.

3L probably made a mistake by not putting their revised version on the table first. It might have gotten a better reception, though not necessarily a favourable one. But flaunting essentially the same old plan that regional directors had previously rejected wasn’t a winning strategy.


In an interesting twist to this story, it was Area C Director Edwin Grieve who split with his two colleagues on the Electoral Areas Services Commission and opposed the rejection of 3L’s application.

Grieve previously opposed the company’s original application two years ago, so why would he support the application now? Especially after 3L made trouble for him over an incident they could never prove?

Grieve says it’s because he, like many others, wants the CVRD to acquire more parkland, which 3L tantalizingly dangles as a possibility, and that he want the public to always have access to Stotan Falls.

But it is curious that the company’s last-minute-but-too-late development plan revision included space for an “agriplex.” Grieve has been a champion of the original “agriplex” idea — Read: convention centre — on ALR land at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.

The non-profit entity that manages the exhibition grounds had proposed a small facility that would actually benefit the local agricultural industry. But then, a few people with special interests jumped on (stomped on?) that plan and repackaged it as a big arena for monster truck shows and country music concerts.

Given the current CVRD board, building an arena on ALR land in a flood plain probably wasn’t going anywhere. So, was 3L throwing out an enticement for Grieve to argue for consideration of the company’s revised plan? Or, was it just a coincidence?


But why would an “agriplex” appeal to Grieve? It could be tied to Grieve’s staunch support of the CV Economic Development Society even though Area C receives few if any direct benefits from the society’s activities.

Before Grieve was elected, Area C was represented on the regional board by Barry Minaker. And Minaker had the radical thought nearly a decade ago that his constituents — Area C taxpayers — weren’t getting their money’s worth from the Economic Development Society.

So Minaker floated the idea of withdrawing Area C from the service, as Hornby and Denman islands and Cumberland have done. But some other local interests didn’t want to see this happen and they helped Grieve challenge Minaker at the ballot box.

As it turns out, some of those same interests are also behind the push for an “agriplex.” There’s nothing nefarious about that. But it is an interesting connection.

— When do you know that a person has really cracked up? Just wondering, because this week American televangelist Pat Robertson prayed publicly for Satan to stop making people believe Joe Biden won the election. On the other hand, maybe this is just the average intelligence level of people who voted for Trump.


* The CVRD rejected 3L Development’ first application to amend the RGS, but were told by the courts to reconsider. They did and rejected it again. Now, the regional district has rejected the company’s application for a third time.



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BC Seafood Festival cancelled at last minute, two more CVEDS directors quit

BC Seafood Festival cancelled at last minute, two more CVEDS directors quit

Archive photo from the 2019 BC Seafood Festival

BC Seafood Festival cancelled at last minute, two more CVEDS directors quit

By George Le Masurier

Organizers have cancelled the BC Seafood Festival, which was scheduled to take place next weekend. Comox Valley Economic Development Society Executive Director John Watson informed his board of directors of the decision at a meeting this morning, during which two more directors resigned.

Watson gave little information about why he cancelled the event, mentioning it only as a footnote to a broader discussion about the appropriateness of tourism marketing to bring snowbirds to the Comox Valley this winter, according to sources who attended the meeting.

Decafnation has since learned that local hoteliers expressed concern about the event during a time when COVID virus cases are surging and when health authorities are recommending against unnecessary travel.

David Rooper, general manager of The Old House Hotel and Spa, told Decafnation that he had pulled his participation in the festival yesterday. He had been already advising guests who had reserved rooms for the three-day event.

Bill Kelly, general manager of Crown Isle Resort, said he had recommended that Watson cancel the event.

Earlier this week, the North Island Medical Health office had contacted the CV Economic Development Society to ensure that it was following all the public health orders and guidelines. At the time, The festival’s website was promoting ticket sales broadly and its line-up of featured chefs, many of whom were from the Lower Mainland, where travel in and out had been restricted.

That resulted in changes to the website to advertise only Vancouver Island chefs and to restate pandemic protocol such as physical distancing and mask-wearing. But it continued to promote an appearance by a world champion oyster shucker from Ontario.

The festival website was still up and offering tickets this morning. It was taken down shortly before noon today.

Watson and Board Chair Deana Simkin have not replied to requests for information and comment about the cancellation.

Courtenay Councillor Melanie McCollum said Watson’s communication concerning the event was not clear. He gave no details about the cancellation except that the hotels had recommended it. But earlier in the meeting, she said, Watson explained that the festival was scheduled because the hotels wanted it.

There was no discussion by board members about the cancellation, according to McCollum and Area B Director Arzeena Hamir. But neither were surprised.

“The board was never informed the festival was being planned, we never talked about it happening,” McCollum told Decafnation. “It was a surprise when I learned a couple of weeks ago that it was going ahead.”

Hamir said the board might have figured out it was happening by the society’s financial reports that used to be distributed at meetings. But Watson hasn’t presented any financial reports to the board in 11 months, since last February.



During the meeting, Diane Naugler, the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Applied Studies, announced her resignation from the board. Mike Obal has also resigned via email, although his resignation wasn’t recognized during the meeting.

Five directors have resigned in recent months: Naugler, Obal, Brian Yip, Bruce Turner and Justin Rigsby. That leaves Simkin, Tony Hayes, Paul Ives, Spender Serin, Jasmin Badrin and Melinda Knox as the remaining public board members.

Five elected officials also attend board meetings in a non-voting capacity: Hamir, McCollum, Area C Director Edwin Grieve, Area A Director Daniel Arbour and Comox Mayor Russ Arnott.



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The Week: Local virus super-spreader event avoided! Comox doc wants Island bubble

The Week: Local virus super-spreader event avoided! Comox doc wants Island bubble

Coronavirus or holiday lights? Upcoming holidays will test our resolve  |  George Le Masurier photo

The Week: Local virus super-spreader event avoided! Comox doc wants Island bubble

By George Le Masurier

Just when you thought the COVID virus pandemic couldn’t consume more of your life, this week happened. Infections surged around the world. Metro Vancouver became a Canadian hotspot along with Quebec and Ontario.

Right here at home, a Comox doctor and a Victoria newspaper called for a bubble around Vancouver Island to maintain our relatively virus-safe environment.

But, did you know that the Comox Valley narrowly avoided becoming the epicentre of a COVID virus super-spreader event? Probably not, and for that you can thank the quick action of North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns and her team.

The Comox Valley Economic Development Society recently put up a public website inviting people to purchase tickets to a three-day Seafood Festival Nov. 20-22 at Crown Isle Resort in Courtenay.

And the website touted its line-up of featured chefs, many of whom would be coming from the Lower Mainland.

The website promotion was oblivious to BC Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently imposed special restrictions on the Lower Mainland due to a surge in new infections centered in the Metro Vancouver area. Her new advisory strongly suggested against all non-essential travel in or out of the region.

Chefs coming from a high infection area to prepare food for guests — who might also be coming from off-island — should have raised red flags for somebody.

When Decafnation contacted the North Island public health office on Monday, Nov. 9, we discovered that the festival organizers had not reached out to ensure they were complying with the current public health orders.

But Dr. Enns put her team to work. Within hours we received a response from Charlene MacKinnon, Senior Environmental Health Officer.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, our team is not aware of the event. We are currently in the process of looking into the matter,” MacKinnon wrote to Decafnation. “As Dr. Enns mentioned we will make sure that the event meets the current orders and health recommendations.”

By late Tuesday, the Economic Development Society had changed their website. It now promises to feature only Vancouver Island chefs, although it makes no mention of refusing attendance to off-Island people.

However, the website continues to promote the appearance of Patrick McMurray, a world champion oyster shucker from Toronto, Ontario, where new COVID cases hit 1,575 on Nov. 12, a single-day record high for the third day in a row.

Neither Deana Simpkin, chair of the society’s board of directors, or Executive Director John Watson, responded to multiple requests for comments on the festival’s planning. It usually takes place in mid-summer.

Who knows what might have happened if public health officials hadn’t stepped in. It might have been fine, or it could have been a disaster. But it shows how we all need to be vigilant in our lives and businesses because one careless moment, one irresponsible act could affect thousands of other people.



Decafnation also reached out to several Courtenay City Councillors to gauge their perspective on the potential virus-spreading event in their city.

Melanie McCollum, who sits on the Economic Development Society board of directors, said she only found out about the event from a hotel manager two weeks ago.

“I fail to see the logic of proceeding with this event, but I can assure you that input from the CVEDS board has not been part of the process of moving forward,” she told Decafnation. “I don’t know who this event is being marketed to, or how many people they are hoping will attend. I don’t understand the rationale for going ahead.”

Doug Hillian pointed out that neither the city or the regional district has been asked to support or endorse the festival.

“While I would see such an event as questionable in current circumstances and would not attend myself, it appears to have been framed as a series of dining experiences with restaurant-specific safety plans in place,” he said. “You may be aware that the Fall Fair operated this past summer with reduced numbers as per health guidelines and with regional district support.”

Wendy Morin has previously voiced disagreement about holding the Seafood Festival during the pandemic.

“I think this is the wrong time to be having the Seafood Festival, even with adaptations for smaller numbers. I have concerns generally about promoting visitors to come here this winter,” she said. “Apparently there is a campaign going on inviting snowbirds. Other communities that rely on tourism such as Ucluelet and Tofino are telling visitors to cancel accommodation reservations. It is the responsible thing to do, especially with our soaring Covid cases recently.”

Mayor Bob Wells said he wasn’t aware of the event when first contacted by Decafnation, but has not offered a comment.



Should Vancouver Island put up a COVID-wall, figuratively speaking? A Comox doctor thinks so.

Dr. Alex Nataros, with the Port Augusta Family Practice, has suggested creating a bubble around Vancouver Island to protect our low COVID infection rate. In a letter to Dr. Charmaine Enns, Nataros writes:

“In light of markedly increased rates of COVID-19 … in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, which stand in stark contrast with the low rates we have preserved in the Island Health region, as well as clear violations of Public Health guidelines including well documented Oct. 31, 2020 public celebrations in downtown Vancouver, I would respectfully ask that, as our North Island Medical Health Officer, you consider advocating for an Island Health regional COVID-19 ‘bubble.’

“As PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry announced … you now have the scope and authority for more region-specific guidelines. I hope that you and our Public Health officers continue your excellent work to date, and move forward with the leadership our region needs.”

Thinking along those same lines, the Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper said this in a recent editorial:

“Local hospitality associations like Tourism Vancouver Island are encouraging Canadians from across the country to visit Vancouver Island this winter. The British Columbia Hotel Association likewise is inviting snowbirds to vacation here instead of heading south …

“Beyond our climate, the unspoken part of the tourist industry’s campaign is apparent: Come here to escape the epidemic. Surely this is not a message we should be comfortable with … As winter approaches, with the threat of a flu season pending, that job is only half done … Permitting an influx of holiday-makers from across Canada at this time, with no controls or protocols that would limit spread of the virus, cannot be in our best interests.”

We concur with both of those sentiments. And keep your oyster chefs in Vancouver.



Finally, we’ll end with a COVID story you won’t believe. And we are not making this up.

New Westminster police have charged Mak Parhar, a 47-year-old BC resident, under the Quarantine Act for repeated violations; specifically, three counts of failing to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada.

Parhar, a well-known BC anti-mask proponent, was arrested when he returned from South Carolina, where he had attended a flat earth conference.

This article’s reference to Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells was updated Friday morning.


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Rob Thompson: SD 71 trustee candidate looks at the future of education post-pandemic

Rob Thompson: SD 71 trustee candidate looks at the future of education post-pandemic

Rob Thompson, candidate for the Area C position on the Comox Valley School Board  |  Submitted photo

Rob Thompson: SD 71 trustee candidate looks at the future of education post-pandemic

By Guest Writer


At this stage, we should be preparing for worst-case scenario. Covid-Coronavirus is showing no signs of dissipating soon. The remainder of this item is offered with absolute respect and is in no way intended to make light of the situation. People are passing away from this disease.

That said, the pandemic eventually will loosen its grasp on our lives and our economy, and we will have fiscal liabilities remaining at every level of government – Federal, Provincial, Municipal. One way of offsetting at least some of these deficits will be to use the most cost-effective methods for the delivery of services.

Online-virtual education at Kindergarten-Grade 12 level seems set to be one of these cost-effective services.

I did an MA in Leadership at Royal Roads on the cusp of this century, completing a thesis in implementing online education (k-12). I was then hired by RRU to, over the next decade-plus. instruct cohorts of administrators, both domestic and international, in which technologies-programs at the time best suited K-12 learners – and to instruct teachers, both domestic and international, in how best to utilize the technologies selected to engage K-12 learners to maximum effect.

My situation was therefore balanced positively, as I was working with K-12 administrators and teachers at the same time I was working with secondary school students themselves day-to-day.

I am in the process of completing my Education Doctorate, with a thesis on the topic of what K-12 learners in this current (2020) decade bring to the table in terms of preferences, skills, knowledge and attributes. The majority proportion of these students seem well prepared to maximize their learning in online-virtual environments, quite possibly reducing the need for as many face-to-face learning sessions and therefore reducing the need for as many face-to-face spaces.

I don’t claim to know everything about these complex areas of education.

Nor do I know everything about every one of the learners in the K-12 pipeline. They are your daughters and your sons: you know them better than anyone. So we will need you to step up and engage in the conversation. If elected as a Trustee for SD71, I will invite you to participate in this conversation.

There is nothing to say there is not a ‘sweet spot’ (a mix of online-virtual and face-to-face learning experiences) that extends each child’s learning to the maximum possible for that child.

With that in mind, space is space. Space can be used by any number of processes. Down island, the kilns of a no longer functioning mill have been converted to both work and office spaces for small businesses. Imagine a scenario where fewer face-to-face learning experiences mean consolidation of existing ‘schools’ into fewer buildings – leaving the remaining buildings for, well, housing, or offices, or other necessary, potential revenue-creating activities.

Education for every child remains my priority – and my focus should I be elected Trustee.

That includes the possibilities that might become available for our indigenous children. Imagine the possibilities of an indigenous child from our community joining an online-virtual environment shared by other indigenous children located internationally, with all of that access to countless centuries of ‘ways of knowing’ and techniques of knowledge dissemination.

All of this is possible. Vote for me, and let’s fire up the conversation.



Due to the resignation of the formerly elected Area C representative, voters will go to the polls on Saturday, Dec. 12 to choose a new school board trustee. The six candidates are:

Randi Baldwin, Kandice Bielert, Monica Parkin, Terence Pruden, Cristi May Sacht and Robert Thompson.

All candidates are welcome to submit articles for publication on this website.


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