For Bowen Island Mayor
Our island may be small, but our hearts are not. We’re a community of makers and doers, of helpers and advocates. We’re drawn to lifestyles sourced by Bowen’s pristine ecology, caring for our neighbours, and passionately defending what matters to us.
On October 15th, 2022, Bowen votes in its future.
A Vision For The Future, From The Past
“Even though our island is a short ferry ride from three million urban residents, it is a world apart. Roads are winding and nights are dark. Lush vegetation and rugged topography define the island; homes and businesses fit into this landscape rather than remake it. There is a strong “islander” identity and a deep commitment to the stewardship of our remarkable natural environment. We take pride and pleasure in living in a resilient community that celebrates its arts, culture and heritage. We highly value and want to preserve our small community way of living, removed from the traffic and distractions of urban life.”
– Bowen Island Official Community Plan, 2011
Bowen is growing – fast. We need to digest this change, feel its impacts into nature and infrastructure, and discern the path we want to chart into the future.
The boxes below outline overarching themes. Positions on specific issues will be released as the campaign unfolds.
Transparency and Engagement
Bowen island residents deserve clear, honest communication from their municipality. With issues like the Cape Roger Curtis park, sales of public lands, expensive infrastructure projects, and demands for large tax increases — residents need articulate reasoning and ongoing public touch points for issues that affect our livelihoods and lifestyles.
I’ll be seeking to transform the way Council interacts with each other, its committees, and Bowen citizens. We are small and technologically nimble enough that we have the opportunity to engage, educate, and inform residents at all levels of public process. This can be done in an open-minded, open-hearted way that deploys empathy for our neighbours and builds a diverse tapestry of perspective.
Past paradigms of tourism have focused on bringing as many visitors to the island as possible. The first full summer since the pandemic put this in stark relief for us: with an exploding demand for summer visitation driven by our proximity to Vancouver, we’ve seen the stresses that this puts on infrastructure, ferries, roads, waste, and water. We’ve created a lucrative seasonal short-term rental market that harms long term rental residents. We need to better address the “why” of our tourist economy, plugging it into conversations of economic development, housing, recreation, and conservation.
I will make tourism and changing use patterns a key part of policy making in the next term. This needs to include a better definition of the types of tourism we wish to foster on the island, and ensure that those uses align with infrastructure capacity. This will require the bringing together of staff and citizens in innovative diverse ways, from engineering to economic development to climate and sustainability.
Since 2011, Bowen has added nearly 1000 residents to the island. This represents a ~25% increase in our population in only ten short years. This massive change in island demographics has reverberated into our environment. Development pressures are ecological pressures, and this growth threatens to erode the rural, wild landscape that we’ve been entrusted to steward.
The ultimate goal of this term should be an evolution of our Official Community Plan, the guiding document of our municipality. Since its last review, other master and island plans have been formulated with significant community input. The next stage will be to expand that engagement and synthesize the realities of our current experience with the intentions that have already been set out.
Given the developmental pressures from the mainland, Bowen’s position outside the metro urban containment area, and the stresses experienced on our infrastructure, ecological preservation should be a key mandate into the future. Whether it’s policy making on density, sustainability practices, or the proposed Cape Roger Curtis park, we need to secure agreements that protect our island culture for the next generation.
In the last two terms, property taxes on Bowen have increased a cumulative of over 40% along with a roaring increase in assessment value. The municipality’s operating budget has increased ~50%. As written in the Undercurrent, our debt obligations are expected to triple for the foreseeable future. Residents in local service areas all over the island have been left accountable for expensive emergency repairs to water systems, the Community Centre is underfunded and (at least) 40% over budget.
The challenges in Bowen’s infrastructure will continue, as we move from a young municipality into a more stable operation. However, with the economy and housing markets set to cool, tight financial management will become more important.
I would like to see a comprehensive, transparent review of island infrastructure with a full disclosure to the community on any pending issues. Development and tourism also need to be contributing their share to infrastructure use, as the Snug Cove wastewater issue has so poignantly highlighted. I’d like to see a complete slowdown of new capital projects until those already underway get complete, excluding necessary and preventative core infrastructure development.
Contribute to a Cause
Support Andrew on the journey to leadership.
I’m an accomplished human services professional, with over two decades of progressive leadership and experience in the non-profit sector. My work has centred around personal and community development for youth and families.
From an early age, I knew I was going to be a helper. My career started as a summer camp instructor at the age of fourteen, instilling in me a deep respect for nature and the capacity for human development within it. Since then, I’ve led and directed programs across five provinces for thousands of participants. More recently, arising out of my long work with chronic illness populations, I’ve sought to integrate experiential education with evidence-based community mental health. This has led to my work on quantitative research projects for youth, involving outdoor and social emotional learning interventions.
The organizational experience has also woven together with my private practice as a personal development coach and consultant. Two major focuses of this work are individual client/family development, generally supporting mental wellness; and technology and project management consulting for social enterprise.
I hold a BA in psychology from Carleton University and a BSc in Social Sciences (human services specialization) from Excelsior College. I’m currently a Master’s candidate in psychology through Harvard University Extension. I’m passionate about knowledge work and am always happy to nerd out over exciting neuroscience and human development research over coffee.
A mushroom once told me I'm a fungi to be with.
Ready to take the next step and support Andrew?
The beauty of municipal elections is their local scope. We get to talk to neighbours, interact with friends, and make new ones on the issues that matter to us. I could use your help. Whether you’ve got five minutes, five hours, or five bucks… it’s all in service of developing community.
Want to come along for the ride?
Contribute to Andrew’s Campaign
Your contribution to our campaign is gratefully appreciated and will be responsibly applied to community engagement.
Interested in meeting Andrew? Contact me here!
Cates Hill Meet and Greet
September 25th, 5pm – 6pm | Rivendell
I’ve been invited to participate at a meet and greet event in the Cates Hill Neighbourhood, being hosted at Rivendell.
Belterra Meet and Greet
September 27th, 7pm – 8pm | Belterra Common House
I’ll be attending a meet and greet at the Belterra Common House. From Peter Frinton’s announcement on the BIEE:
“On Tuesday September 27th, 7pm will be a ‘meet and greet’ neighbourhood gathering for candidates at the Belterra Common House.
This will not be a formal all-candidates meeting as had been originally proposed, but there will be an opportunity for mingling and for each of the candidates to speak, plus answer questions from the floor.
Please park at the IPS/Cates Hill Chapel lot, and walk the short distance to the Common House. Bring a flashlight, as it will be dark by the time the get-together is over….
This is primarily a neighbourhood event, similar to the Rivendell one for Cates Hill on Sunday, Sept. 25th, but other islanders are certainly invited, subject to load capacity of the facility. So arriving on-time is advised. I am pretty sure there will be other events (have heard that there will be one at Tunstall Bay clubhouse, and Judi Gedye has rented Collins Hall for successive Saturdays at 3pm, and other candidates have been attending.
See you there!“
Candidate Speed Dating @ The Pub
September 29th, 5pm – 7pm | Bowen Island Pub
All of the candidates have been invited to the Bowen Island Pub for an intimate night of speed dating with the voters. From the Pub’s Facebook Page:
“This event is intended to offer community members an opportunity to speak one-on-one with candidates. There will not be any formal introductions, debate, or open question period. All candidates have been invited.”
October 1st, 10am – 12pm | BICS
We’re planning to attend the farmer’s market with a table, and will definitely have our kids on the playground. Come on out for an autumn coffee, shop, and a snack!
All Candidates Meeting
October 2nd, 3:30pm | Bowen Island Community School
The Bowen Island Undercurrent is hosting an all-candidates forum at BICS. We’ll be organizing a family snack and play at the playground beforehand. Community members are encouraged to submit questions to Alex Kuriel at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Westside Playscape Opening
October 8th, 2pm – 4pm | Arbutus Ridge
I’ve been invited to attend the opening of the Westside Playscape, which has been eagerly anticipated in our neighbourhood! This won’t be a formal candidates event, but I’ll be around to chat (and play on the swings!)
TBCA Family Fun for Members + Guests
October 8th, 4:30pm – 6pm | Tunstall Bay Clubhouse
Continuing the fun from the Westside Playscape, myself and Bobbi Parker will be hosting an event for TBCA members and their guests. The aim is a family oriented continuation of the fun we had at Tunstall during the summer. I’ve spoken to a number of council candidates, and some will be attending for an informal meet and greet.
Online Zoom Social
October 13th, 7pm – 8pm | Online (link here)
BYOB. I’ll be dusting of my DJ gear, playing some tunes, and answering questions. Drop in at anytime!