The Bowen Island Podcast
On September 9th, I had the opportunity to sit down with Don Shafer on his Bowen Island Podcast. We got into issues like the Cape Roger Curtis park, my vision for Bowen, the balance between economy and ecology, and a ton more. Don has put together the podcast as an equitable, open space for all of the election candidates. The questions were deep and far reaching — definitely worth the listen.
The Bowen Island Podcast is put together entirely on a volunteer basis by community member and long time podcaster Don Shafer. The intent of the podcast is to create a space for candidates of our 2022 municipal election, where they can all answer the same questions on a range of issues that affect our community. When asked about his goals for the project, Don says “it’s my hope that this series will provide a warm introduction to each candidate as we all get to know them a bit better and perhaps help open all of us up to other points of view.”
The podcast opens with my detailing of the experience that led to my choice to stand as a candidate. I spoke of my range of career work in the human services field with community non-profits, my love of tech for social enterprise, and my academic pursuits looking at holistic mental health for youth. Finally concluding that, “for Bowen, I’ve felt that calling to be of service in governance with a volume that’s been increasing in my heart.
From there, we dove into the issues: what my vision for Bowen is, what public participation should look like, how to balance things like development and ecology, impacts on climate change, the Cape Roger Curtis park, and our relationship to reconciliation and colonization — to name a few. A major question involved talk of an update to our Official Community Plan (OCP), where I conclude that “my view is that the OCP needs an evolution. It needs to transcend what it is now into something new, but also include the wisdom that’s already in it. I think an OCP evolution could be a tremendous opportunity for all facets of our community and municipality to come together in a way that defines who we are, what we stand for, and how that’s measured in a way that serves the generation to come.”
In reflecting on my words to Don, and in my conversations out in the community, I’m realizing more than ever the challenges we’re going to face in the coming years. There’s a tightrope of opposing tensions to be walked. Whether we choose to do something well or succumb to policy waffling — or something in between — these are going to have long reaching consequences for the community.
Development and housing, tourism and recreation use, infrastructure investments and community programming. There are choices that we’re going to be forced to make (or not make) now that will impact generations.
My hope for Don’s podcast project is that all of our candidates take up the opportunity to speak to him. What I loved was the warm container he created, checking in at points to see how I was feeling and to calm the butterflies in my stomach. It’s clear that Don cares about the future of Bowen Island and the types of conversations we have about our lineage and future. I look forward to hearing the diverse perspectives that he’s sure to take in as we look to digest all the change that’s happened and that is still to come.
“We’ve had so much growth and turnover on the island, there are so many new people here, that the time is now to build that cultural bedrock so that when anyone steps off that ferry – whether tourist or resident – they know what Bowen stands for and where we’re going, and that this knowledge resonates in the deepest part of their heart.”
My vision is simple: I want to facilitate a Bowen Island that is a global thought and policy leader for ecologically based, small island living.
“This makes the key issue of this election one of bringing community together to articulate vision. It’s going to require leading edge ways to compassionately draw the breadth of our community together to not just decide what it is we want for the next four years. The key issue is to use the next four years to defend and delineate what the next four dozen years on Bowen’s should look like – to say “we came together and decided that this is what we want to keep and what we want to change for the next generation”.
– Andrew Leonard, The Bowen Island Podcast
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