This being my first round at political life, I am inspired and buoyed by the energies I encounter in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.
Like many of us, I’ve driven through each area – Willis Point, Malahat, Beecher Bay, East Sooke, Esquimalt, Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River and Port Renfrew – for years and never really knew the communities at all. I’m learning more every day and with these newfound insights, I am working to tap into the wealth of intellect and devotion to “our” betterment welled up in each area.
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We have both common and unique concerns.
I see how homelessness has three sides or more. Let’s ensure zoning opportunities allow for improved access to longer-term, lower-cost housing opportunities. How water security, once perhaps an Orwellian concept, is a genuine concern in our paradise raincoast. Let’s advance rainwater capture. How individual acts to address climate change, burst with selflessness but need all of our support. Expanded and evolving bus routes are coming, slowly but surely. I’ve been working hard with several communities on enhancing environmental protection advocacy efforts on the local, regional, provincial and federal levels of government. A lot is going on.
While each community has an array of projects being overseen by our local area services staff, I am excited about our plan to build a community hall for Otter Point – doubling as a social and community event hosting site, it will serve as a disaster place of refuge and support for our most densely populated area along West Coast Road.
We can build stronger, more determined and resilient communities but only with stronger family and individual commitments. Let’s argue less, agree more and love one another as we roll into 2023 - it’s entirely in our hands how we move forward.
Merry Christmas to you all, and best wishes for the happiest New Year ever!
Al Wickheim is the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director for the Capital Regional District.