Current occupation and background –
My name is Rod Smith. I am married with five children. Two of them are school age and live at home with us in Saltair where we have lived for thirteen years. They attend school in Ladysmith and are very active in dance, soccer, baseball and football. Currently, I am a consultant working with community and not-for-profit groups. I have thirty-eight years of senior management experience including: Executive Director for the Ladysmith Maritime Society, Executive Director for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, Executive Director of Orbis International (Canada), National Director of Development for both Amnesty International and the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Director of Development for Chemainus Theatre. While at Chemainus Theatre I was a key member of a small team that built the Best Western Hotel. We also built the new administration centre, the production centre and renovated the theatre. Recently, at the Ladysmith Maritime Society I led the charge to get the Viki Lyne II out of Ladysmith Harbour before it sunk and caused an environmental disaster. I also took the organization out of debt, created a financial reserve and triple the number of marine visitors to the marina pumping over $1.5 million into the local economy.
Why are you running for electoral area director ?
Area G needs strong, experienced leadership – leadership that can unite the community, deal effectively and rationally with the issues and establish a vision for Area G for the future. Bringing the community together focused positively on a new inclusive vision, a vision that recognizes that our community is bigger than Saltair and the islands of area G, is my first priority.
If elected, what will your priorities be for the term and outline how you will tackle them ?
We enjoy wonderful drinking water in Saltair from Stocking Lake. Recent changes in the regulations on drinking water means we need to move to a filtering system or ground water or partner with Ladysmith. We will decide once the research is complete. There is a price tag associated with all options. Over the past thirty-eight years of leadership I raised millions of dollars for infrastructure and programming. Attracting grant money to help us make this change is a key priority.
One of the joys of living here is the proximity to the ocean, to the Salish Sea. But the waters of the Salish Sea and the 125 at risk species are under tremendous threat. The Southern Resident Killer Whales are on the brink of extinction. Pollution, habitat loss, climate change, vessel traffic and other threats are taking a toll on our way of life. The recent expansion of freighter anchorages off Saltair and other communities has completely changed life for many residents. That said, taking a not-in-my-backyard approach as some communities have done will not deal with the issue. A solutions-oriented approach that considers the entire Salish Sea, and that involves all communities dealing this issue including First Nations, like we did with the Viki Lyne II, is what is needed.
Those would be my top three issues. Of course, there’s always issues around taxation. I’ll be watching to see that it’s fair, and I think it is, and that we get our fair share of services. I am concerned about safety and security. I don’t think we are as prepared as we could be for an earthquake. And, I would like to talk with the RCMP about the break-ins we are experiencing. Also, we have a beautiful system of parks and trails, but I think there may be an opportunity to tie them together and add more areas along with some new recreational opportunities at the Saltair Centre.
The future is bright for Area G and the surrounding area. I have a successful history of creating a vision and working with large numbers of volunteers, corporate and individual investors and all levels of government to see that vision realized.