Cultus Lake Community Association – Meet Your Local Provincial Candidates

Cultus Lake Community Association

Cultus Lake (Cultus Lake Community Association) – The Cultus Lake Community Association asked each of the candidates running in the local riding (Chilliwack-Kent) to give a brief bio and comment on the following:

Regarding the governance of the Cultus Lake Park Board. It’s not a village incorporated, and we’re stuck in an old archaic 1932 Park Act. We’d like to see research done and a solution to get us into the 21st century. If we were incorporated with or without leases, that would then give some tax revenue stream and allow us to take out loans for improvements among other advantages we currently don’t have. We now maintain our own set of rules and bylaws though recently have started adopting some of the Municipality Act.

As you already know, the Park Board does not receive any tax revenue from Victoria, though the FVRD collects rural tax from all the 1,100+ residents. A significant amount of our revenue comes from visitor parking. Visitors come from all over the lower mainland as the lake is now a destination spot. 

Eli Gagne, Libertarian

I am Eli Gagne with the Libertarian party running for the Chilliwack-Kent riding. I haven’t always been a political person. Reason being is that it’s the same circle of problematic issue of non-results. We get nonstop empty promises and false statements to gain votes. They try to dazzle dazzle you with buzz words and throw out budgets to solve problems. Many of the cases- things don’t happen. To the point where people complain about our government and how things could be better. This is where I answer your questions. I am an everyday working man, not a politician. I have no real agenda or biased opinion as I’ve not been in politics too long. I won’t be promising anything or making false plans to do anything specifically as that simply just does not work. What I am really going to do is make a full investigation into the budgets and finances to see where the money is going and why there’s little result on what the people want. I want to find better ways to spend where is needed and hopefully save the people some money at the same time. 

He can be reached at eli.gagne@libertarian.bc.ca

 
Jason Lum – Independent 

Jason Lum is a three-term City Councillor in the City of Chilliwack. He has spent over nine years working hard on issues important to the region. Jason has represented both the City of Chilliwack, and the broader Chilliwack-Kent region as a four-term Board Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District, the President of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and Director on the Board of the Union of BC Municipalities. Prior to his time on Council Jason served as President of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, and Vice Chair of the Fraser Valley Healthcare Foundation. Jason believes in the power of grassroots advocacy and has spent his entire political career working to make positive changes for folks here in Chilliwack-Kent. Jason, his wife Sheila, and their 7 month old son Cedar are long time residents of Yarrow. 

Question 1: 

Cultus Lake residents deserve certainty. The current legislation is dated, and fiddling around the edges trying to fix it is not going to serve the needs of folks at the Lake. I recall some of the feedback from my Municipal colleagues around attempts to address the governance issues at the Lake many years ago, but in my opinion we have to pull all of the stakeholders back to the table, lay out the challenges and look for commonalities. The one thing most people can agree on is the current system isn’t working. The NDP did make overtures indicating they would be willing to consider some serious changes to the Act, and I have had a very good working relationship with Minister Robinson, should she end up back as Minister of Municipal Affairs I believe we would be in a very good position to put forward changes to the act to include modernization of fees/revenue/bylaws, as well as taxation, and accountability measures in line with the Local Government Act and Community Charter. 

Question 2: 

I have said for many years that the Provincial Government cannot keep using the residents of Cultus Lake as an ATM. Millions of people from across the Province recreate at Cultus, and the Province absolutely has a responsibility to contribute to the infrastructure needs, including improvements to parking, foreshore, docks, critical infrastructure (water/sewer), the list goes on. I am well aware of the jurisdictional challenges, but I also believe that there are a number of Ministries that have abdicated their responsibility to Cultus Lake. You need someone in Victoria who will listen to your needs, and hold decision makers accountable. 

Jason can be reached at organizing.jlcampaign@gmail.com

Kelli Paddon – BC NDP

My name is Kelli Paddon and I am the BC NDP candidate for Chilliwack-Kent.  I am grateful to live nearby in Lindell Beach with my husband and two kids, as well as our two dogs.  I am a public servant and advocate and have a record of successfully amplifying the voices of those I serve.  For 15 years I have worked in the community living sector at local and provincial levels.  I started my community service working with Chilliwack Society for Community Living  and later I moved into instruction and provincial level work.  In addition to participating in community and provincial boards, my most recent position includes leading an interdisciplinary team responsible for policy and government relations in the community living sector across the province, contributing to cross-ministry tables to develop and inform provincial policies, and negotiating cross-government agreements that impact the everyday lives of
those I serve.  

As someone who lives at the lake, I see and understand many of the issues that this area struggles with and the burden it places on the residents of our beautiful community.  There are real infrastructure, funding and policy needs here,  which will require advocacy and research to ensure we have the input and support from various levels of government to bring us into the realities we are facing in 2020.  I know that my experience in provincial policy and government relations work has provided me with the experience and skills to be effective at the provincial level as well as working with municipal and federal partners.  As part of the BC NDP team I will be well positioned to explore and communicate the needs of this constituency.  I have a long history of stakeholder consultation and engagement which will ensure I am bringing your priorities and concerns directly to Victoria.  

There is no doubt that people are worried about what the next four years are going to look like, and I am honoured to be hearing about people’s experiences, hopes, and fears as we go through this together.  Mostly, I am hearing a lot of hope as people share what is important to them whether it is seniors care, healthcare, the economy, schools, or building a better future.  John Horgan and the BC NDP are focused on people and have the plan that will get us through this and keep us safe, healthy, and secure during the pandemic and through the recovery.  If elected as a part of the BC NDP team I am in a strong and unique position to provide the people of Chilliwack-Kent a strong and effective voice as part of a team in Victoria as we move forward.  I am the only local candidate that, if elected, offers inclusive representation to fight for our needs and priorities at the decision-making table. This election is an opportunity for voters in Chilliwack-Kent to ensure that all our voices are represented and heard, and so I am asking for you to vote Kelli Paddon BC NDP for MLA in Chilliwack-Kent. 

Kelli  can be reached at kelli.paddon@bcndp.ca
Laurie Throness – Independent

It has been a privilege to serve as MLA for the Cultus Lake area for the past seven years. In this unusual year of the pandemic, a snap election was called on September 21st.  Now there is just a week left until election day and in the fast-paced, turbulent and difficult world of BC politics, I have suddenly found myself to be an independent candidate.  I hope I will have your support; you can still vote for me because my name will be on the ballot, but if chosen, I will sit as an Independent Member.

With respect to governance at Cultus Lake, I have long advocated that the Board become a municipality similar to Harrison Hot Springs, and that the Board cooperate with the Regional District to put in place the services of a municipality until such time as the appropriate legislation can be contemplated.  The question of the disposition of leases remains the most important issue to resolve, because the Province will not move on this until any land claims have been negotiated.  I have encouraged the Soowahlie several times to engage in the treaty process because the demands on the Lake are increasing.  If elected, I will continue to try to resolve this question.

Regarding income streams for the Cultus Lake Park Board, I have investigated this matter fully.  The property tax revenue of over $1 million annually from residents is sent to Victoria, which removes specified items from it like money for schools and hospitals, and then returns about $400,000 to the Regional District.  The Regional District funds some minor items at Cultus Lake and uses the rest for its general revenue.  My candidate opponent Jason Lum chairs the Regional District, and I think it is incumbent on him to share why he has not made an arrangement with Cultus Lake Park Board to share more property tax revenue.  I will continue to seek other sources of funding, such as how to capture the value of hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Park, for which it bears many costs.

I am asking for your support to continue my ongoing work on your behalf. It would be a pleasure to serve once again. 

If you would like to discuss any issue at all, please email me at lauriethroness@gmail.com, or call me at 604-302-3066.

With all best wishes
Laurie Throness 

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