Jon Lefebure

The Final Countdown in North Cowichan

Who will be the Mayor and Councillors after Oct. 20 vote?

It’s decision time.

And just like in the Lovin’ Spoonful song, “did you ever have to make up your mind, and pick up on one and leave the other behind, it’s not often easy and not often kind.”

Two of three current Municipality of North Cowichan council members will be left behind and one will move forward after the Saturday, Oct. 20 elections pending the outcome of the mayor’s race, with incumbent Jon Lefebure up against councillors Al Siebring and Joyce Behnsen.

All three are feeling quite confident in their positions following an intense period of campaigning and all-candidates meetings.

“As we enter the final phase of the campaign, I am struck by how clear the choices are,” noted Lefebure. “If the electorate choose to support me, they are looking for action on the important issues facing us: affordable housing, watershed and drinking water protection, building relationships with First Nations, reviewing the Urban Containment Boundary and dealing with Climate Change and environmental issues like Quamichan and Somenos Lake.

“If they think that we can ignore these issues, just work on a review of regulations or simply not invest in the community, then they will vote for the other candidates.”

Lefebure added the most asked question he’s encountered in going door-to-door is about how to move forward on the affordable housing issue. “That is very encouraging but I have been through too many close elections to come to any conclusions other than it is extremely important for people to get out and vote at this crucial time,” he indicated.

Siebring has engaged with voters on a personal level at pub nights he’s hosted in Crofton, Maple Bay, and elsewhere.

“They’ve been very successful, largely because I’ve structured them not so much as a way for me to convince people to vote for me, but rather as a chance for me to learn from local residents what their concerns and priorities are, what issues I should bring back to the council table after the election on Saturday,” he indicated.

“My final week has been focused on engaging with voters in person, online, and through a concentrated advertising blitz that asks people to take a long hard look at the various options they have for mayor. I will happily concede that each of the three candidates has the best of intentions, but this isn’t about ‘intentions.’ Voters need to take a serious look at what each of us is proposing, and our respective competencies for the job.

“This campaign has given voters some very clear choices, especially in terms of who will be the next mayor.”

Siebring noted he’s been listening to local taxpayers that they can only take on so much, “and that the proper role of local government is to hold the Province and the Feds’ feet to the fire to do the things they’re mandated to do — the things we’re already paying for in our provincial and federal taxes.”

Behnsen noted she’s witnessed a community coming together to raise their concerns and educate themselves so they can make the right choice for mayor and council.

“North Cowichan is a very large and diverse municipality with several unique communities each with their own complex issues and needs,” she observed. “I believe it is incumbent upon myself to focus on the needs of the community I wish to represent as mayor instead of spending time looking for ways to malign and discredit my competition. I am here for the people as my track record shows. I am focused on communities and ensuring a better quality of life for all of us.

“I want to improve North Cowichan. I want to ensure the people’s voices are heard. I want to ensure that there is careful consideration given to the impact of decisions on our environment. I will continue to work towards ensuring safety in your community. I have heard your stories, I have enjoyed your laughter, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be running for mayor of North Cowichan.”

There are 14 candidates for six North Cowichan councillor positions. Profiles can be found at www.cowichanvalleycitizen.com and on the personal sites of the candidates.

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Al Siebring

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