What water means to me

I grew up in the Cowichan Valley in the 90’s and I don’t remember there being so many droughts as there have been the last few years. Perhaps now that Zoe and I are starting our farm, we pay attention to these issues more…

Two recent events have really shaped my views on water. One was a video contest that NATO held in 2012 where I had to create a one minute video of “what security meant to me”. My gut decision was WATER. Here is the video that I won with and took me to the Chicago NATO summit as the only Canadian representative.

Then earlier this year, the Shawnigan Lake Residents association (SRA) hired me to live stream their environmental appeal online. I sat in on 30 days of deliberations, arguments and scientist explanations. It was an eye opening experience to see the complexities of how water flows and it was equally eye opening to the powers we do (and do not) have to protect our water. I made a video earlier that year as a gift to the SRA for all their hard work. I really wanted to capture the worst case scenario of a destroyed aquifer.

I recently went to a discussion panel in Duncan put on by the council of Canadians, which covered food and water security. As various people spoke, the topic seemed to stray into how we could CONTROL water through metering and fines. It was at that point that I said, “We keep talking about how to make the stick bigger through fines and metering but we aren’t talking about how to make the carrot bigger.”

How do we reduce residential water use?
How do we reach the goals of irrigating more farm land?
How do we make those work at the same time?

I don’t have all the answers but I do have the passion to find out through group discussions, looking at other regional districts and speaking with experts from all over Canada.

I hope to have your vote November 15th so that we can continue to have these important discussions.

One Cowichan Survey Answers

One Cowichan has put forward a survey to all the Candidates in the Cowichan Valley after releasing their poll results. Here are my answers.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and why you are running.

My name is Matteus Clement and I am a new father, small business owner and beginning farmer. I have been involved with almost a dozen campaigns over the last few years and my favorite part has always been door knocking. It’s there that I have heard great concerns matched with great ideas. I want to take the community’s ideas, bring them to the table and implement them to make Cobble Hill and the Cowichan Valley a better place.  You can learn more about me by visiting matteusclement.com or calling me at 250-929-8744

The community survey results placed a high priority on sustainability, in particular on protecting our watersheds, water supply and water quality, as well as on creating a more sustainable local economy. If elected, please describe what your approach would be to those issues.
There is no denying that water issues should be at the top of our priorities. The first reactions seem to be punitive around household water consumption (metering and penalties). I believe that the first steps should be to inform and assist in reducing household water consumption. In areas where we find water contamination, let’s find the source and work on ways to reduce or stop the contamination before bringing the hammer down.
As a market farmer, I live and breathe the local economy model and want to have town halls around HOW we can do it.

The survey results indicated citizens want to see more consultation and accountability between elected officials and their constituents. If elected, please describe what your approach would be to those issues.

When I became the spokesperson for the Camosun College student society, I approached the other 20 board members asking them what three things they wanted to do in their term. I then found common ground between those goals and worked on those issues first. It energized the group seeing what UNITED us rather than what separated us.

My approach has always been and always will be collaborative with the knowledge that no decision can ever satisfy 100% of the people but if we can hear people out, find commonalities and get to 80% then we are doing pretty well.

What is your position on municipal tax rates and the corresponding level and allocation of services?
As a small business owner, I have to see both the COST of something but also the VALUE of something. I also believe that people don’t mind paying taxes but find issue when they feel that those dollars are not being spent wisely.

For example, CVRD management pay scales have been mentioned time and time again. We need not attack the people who have taken those jobs on but rather when those positions open up again ask ourselves if the current method of paying similar to other municipalities is the best method to use.

What is your vision for this area, and how would getting elected help achieve it?

More importantly, what is the COMMUNITY’S vision of this area?

Through town halls, online discussion forums and effective communication, I want to take the voices of Cobble Hill to the CVRD table and be a regional player in seeing us move forward.

I do hold many of the values of Cobble Hill near to me: farming, water protection and staying rural.

I appreciated the work of One Cowichan but 100 words cannot contain such a large idea. Please contact me to share your vision: matteusclement@gmail.com 250-929-8744 and matteusclement.com

You can see the answers from my opponent here: http://www.onecowichan.ca/dara_quast