Agree or disagree with Kervin’s Corner? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.

Kervin’s Corner: It’s municipal election time, so let’s talk local issues

“It’s a drawn out, old adage that politics is a game of popularity.”

Every four years candidates, some expected and others surprising, put in their bid to run for a locally elected position. Election season, as with every kind of election, brings politics to the forefront – candidate signs are plunked on to a supporter’s lawn, posters stapled on every utility pole, and candidates ensure the public sees them out and about.

What’s less obvious are the policies each candidate supports, especially in a rural, small town setting like the North Island. Coy candidates might stay hush-hush on controversial issues while others make it a centerpiece to their campaign. But one thing is certain – the public deserves to know exactly what each candidate plans to do during their tenure, if elected.

It’s a drawn out, old adage that politics is a game of popularity. That’s untrue. At the heart of it, voters want a candidate who they can connect with, who they agree with, or who have aligning principles they can support. With that said, it’s a matter of voting on the issues. But what issues are affecting our region?

Drugs and alcohol

BC Coroner Service published a report during the summer updating us on the current opioid crisis. Unsurprisingly, the North Island has seen a growing impact over the past few months. So much so in fact the rates of fatal overdoses are startling.

Last year the North Island region (Comox-North) had 37 overdoses and of those 17 lives were lost because of illicit drugs laced with fentanyl. Those are 17 individuals that lived and worked in our own Northern communities. Not to mention the devastating impacts its had on the victims’ families.

It seems discussing the drug crisis is a bit of a taboo subject in our towns, but why is that the case? The more we talk about the impacts, no matter how uncomfortable, the easier it is to find a solution.

RELATED: North Island Drug Crisis

Public intoxication

Port Hardy RCMP released a quarterly report on crimes committed within the community. The town saw 126 incidents involving public intoxication. In the first quarterly report, the RCMP reported only 49 public intoxication incidents. To be fair, there is always a rise in numbers during summer months due to the change in weather.

Regardless, that’s a huge increase and warrants a proactive response by the municipal hall. For example, many police officers are choosing to escort inebriated individuals to a shelter or back to their home, rather than arresting them and placing them in jail for the night.

RELATED: RCMP Q1 Report

RELATED: RCMP Q2 Report

Housing

An apartment complex had a fire that displaced all the residents in the building sometime last year. A few of those residents, having gone through a traumatic experience already, scrambled to find a new home. This kind of event was indicative of a larger picture. Port Hardy has little options for single, working individuals. It’s hard to find an apartment that meets living standards since so many buildings are quite old, some dating as far back as three decades without renovations.

Local economy

Since the old Island Copper mine shut down in 1996 – a major contributor to local events and projects around town – it’s been strenuous for the municipal hall to adapt to the changing times. What can councillors do to encourage small business in Port Hardy?

When big competitors are stifling local residents from opening a store it seems to be a daunting task for investors or entrepreneurs. For example, we used to have a local grocery store that shut down for whatever reason, but now we’re left with only one option. I’m sure the municipal hall could throw in a few policies here and there to incentivize small business growth.

These issues are what candidates could talk about during campaigning time and hopefully spur community discussion.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three weekly direct flights from Port Hardy to Vancouver starting June 1

Direct between Bella Bella and Vancouver not resuming at this time

UPDATE: Local taxi company applying to opertate north island bus route

Waivin’ Flags Taxi wants to operate Route 5 between Cambpell River and Port Hardy

Change in service: Port Hardy is switching from bi-weekly garbage pick up to weekly schedule

The cost for the weekly garbage pick up service is an additional $30.12 annually.

Cancelling bus service between Campbell River and Port Hardy will compromise health access, region warns

Mount Waddington Health Network says transportation primary factor for rural health access

Badinotti makes cash donations to North Island food banks

‘it’s fantastic that they are supporting community organizations like this’

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read