There are around four months until the municipal election and a handful of councillors are still mulling their future around the table.
While the Chronicle has not received any direct ‘no’s’ from current councillors, Duck Paterson, Lori Evans. Bruce Whittington and Scott Bastian say they are still considering their options.
Current Mayor Rob Hutchins has already declared his intentions to seek another term as mayor and councillors Steve Arnett and Jill Dashwood are vying for a return trip to office.
Arnett made his intention clear at the August 2 council meeting and later told the Chronicle there are a lot of ‘legacy’ projects he wants to see through.
Chief among them is a resolution Ladysmith will be taking to the Union of BC Municipalities asking government to help municipalities take control of their watersheds.
“There’s more work to do yet and I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to get done,” said Arnett, noting the last three years have gone by quickly.
When he first stepped forward for council, Arnett said he knew a lot of the initiatives he wanted to see through would take several years.
“It’s a long process but it has to be done. It’s a legacy to our children.”
How the town deals with waste treatment is another issue Arnett wants to be a part of over the next term.
Arnett is pleased with a lot of things council has accomplished over the last three years, but says he does wish there would have been more done in economic development.
“It isn’t for elected officials to create business, but we are certainly there to create the conditions for good business. I think we can work harder on that one.”
While he has enjoyed his first three years as a councillor, Arnett knows the council has critics, and he is fine with that.
Arnett said he can handle the criticism, but does not appreciate people who think elected officials are automatically corrupt, easy targets for slander.
“They can be as caustic and satirical as they like, as long as it’s done respectfully.”
And as for any newcomers looking for a chair and name plate around the table, Arnett has some advice, ‘Do your homework.’
“When you are doing the people’s business, you need to understand that there’s lots of joys in that, but to make a considered, thoughtful decision for the future, you need to do your homework.”
Dashwood said she thinks this council has put in a lot of work and effort over the last three years and has found a great stride after a steep learning curve at the beginning of the term.
“There’s some successes and there’s some more stuff to do,” said Dashwood. “We’ve learned a lot.”
Affordable housing and dealing with secondary suites are two issues Dashwood would like to see council deal with over the next term.
“That would be really important to me,” said Dashwood.
She said she has always tried to put families first and wants the town to continue to be a great place to live.
Dashwood is also keen on the waterfront plan. She said she, like many others, do not want to see the waterfront overdeveloped and is excited about the opportunities presented by some of the larger housing developments in the northwest corner of town.
“We want to leave it (the waterfront) for the people of Ladysmith.”
Dashwood said she has some concerns about Ladysmith’s downtown core and wants to see more business fronts filled.
“We need more businesses.”
Dashwood said she would like to see more businesses catering to two local assets in Ladysmith; maritime travel and the thriving arts and culture sector.
Dashwood added that she gets compliments about the town’s focus on green living and wants to see more of it.
“We could really promote that.”
As for facing criticism as a councillor, Dashwood said they are never going to be able to please everyone all the time.
“There is going to be somebody that doesn’t agree with something that’s going on,” said Dashwood. “I signed up for it, I knew what I was signing up for. I wouldn’t be running again if I couldn’t handle it.”
Dashwood strongly suggests anyone interested in running for council should start attending meetings.
“Be prepared for a different life,” she said.