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Tofino municipal councillor candidates introduce themselves

Tofino to elect new council on Oct. 15

Tofino will head to the polls on Oct. 15 to elect a new council. Tofino mayor Dan Law is running unopposed and has been acclaimed. The town has six councillor seats and seven candidates have put their names forward to fill them. In an effort to help locals get to know their municipal council candidates, The Westerly News asked each of them to introduce themselves and explain why they’re running for council. Candidates were given a maximum of 300 words and the order their responses appear below was selected at random.

Sarah Sloman

I was born in Tofino and have lived here most of my life. My paternal family has lived here since the early 1900s . I graduated from Ucluelet Secondary in 1994, when I met my husband. We spent many years working in the restaurant industry and traveling and surfing. I attended post secondary school in Victoria where I studied horticulture. I returned to Tofino and started my landscaping business, with my business partner, and have continued to operate it for over 20 years. My husband and I bought our property in 2003 and began building our home. We raised our twin daughters here. They just graduated from a combination of Ucluelet Secondary and distance learning. In my free time I love to spend a large part of each day outside. I love surfing, gardening, beach walking, hiking, running and camping.

I have chosen to run for council because I love our town and the people living here. I want to make choices that can enhance the lives of residents and our environment.

Duncan McMaster

I have been a resident and property owner in Tofino since 2006. Initially my wife and I owned and operated a B&B for 12 years before downsizing to a smaller home.

Born and raised on a Council Estate in Manchester, England may explain my interest in affordable housing. Prior to Tofino, most of my career was spent conducting geophysical operations around the world.

I was first elected to Council in 2011 and have served on the Audit Committee, the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board and the Tofino Housing Corporation.

I’m running again because I care about our community and am worried about the problems we face: affordability, housing, water, and poor recreation amenities.

I believe, the solution to the affordable housing crisis is to build affordable housing. Building expensive housing increases the supply of expensive housing and drives the price of all housing (purchase and rental) higher not lower. To conclude, affordable housing in Tofino should be prioritized over expensive housing. Completion of 70 rental units in 2023 will have an impact and we will need to assess the future needs of the community and next steps. However, I doubt whether the affordable housing crisis will be solved in the near term.

Tofino faces a lack of water supply during the peak summer months. Better conservation and storage will give us some breathing room. We need a new source of water. If this is to be Kennedy Lake discussions with all levels of government need to start now as the planning and costs will be considerable. I believe I have the knowledge and expertise to participate in these difficult decisions.

My international work taught me that Canada is the best country and I believe Tofino is the best place to live – I want to keep it that way.

Ali Sawyer

Hello! My name is Ali Sawyer. I grew up on the North Island in Campbell River, and found my home here in Tofino over 10 years ago. I’ve been working in the restaurant industry for that time, and many of you might remember seeing me in the kitchen at Sobo or Tony’s back in the day, and more recently at Tacofino.

When I moved here I was lucky that my first connections, many in the Tonquin area, were with people who have been here for decades. They gave me insights on how our community had grown and changed over the years, and that really left me with a sense of stewardship and responsibility to both the people and the environment that we live in.

I’m running because I was asked to, by people who know that my passion is to protect our community and the peninsula we live on, and to be a bridge between all the members of our town and facilitate public involvement in the decisions that we make going forward.

Al Anderson

I am running for re-election this next term to continue to bring my experience, local government knowledge and passion for Tofino and serve as councillor. I looked at The Westerly candidates and the write-ups Tofino candidates submitted in 2018. Liquid waste treatment, affordability, housing, tourism,recreation… issues that had our attention then still do. Since then it has been a term marked with two by-elections and many zoom meetings. Happily progress has been made despite those challenges, but there remains much work to do. If re-elected I will continue to work towards a recreation facility, will prioritize housing, and put the communities needs first. Tofino needs to protect and grow our residential housing stock for residential. We must continue to seek revenue other than property taxation to support and maintain our infrastructure. Council should strive to get the best deal from the Resort Municipality Initiative so it will continue to fund arts, culture and heritage programming and trails. I want Tofino to be a great place to be a kid, to raise a family and to grow old. We live in a special place loved deeply by a community of diverse and hard working people. We need a diverse and hard working council to protect and guide its future. As councillor I have worked to make it a better place for people to live, work and play. I’ve been privileged to be a voice for Tofino and with your support I will continue to bring a collaborative and community centred process to decision making. I believe that good communication and engagement strengthen council decisions. I believe councillors are elected not only to talk but to listen, in the community and at the council table.

Kat Thomas

I have lived in many communities coast to coast, and have been lucky enough to call Tofino home for over seven years now. As I continue to build my future here I hope to positively shape Tofino in a way that benefits my community as well as myself.

My decade of management in the food&beverage industry has helped me become a creative problem solver who is used to dealing with strict budgets with both time and money. I am experienced with taking others’ visions and filling in the blanks to make those reality - a skill I expect to utilize as we tackle issues like housing, affordability, and public transportation, as well as with navigating water supply solutions.

Ultimately I am running for council because I care deeply about this town. I want to see sustainable growth that prioritizes taking care of our community members throughout their time here, caring for the longtime locals as well as the new faces who also come to call Tofino home.

Tom Stere

My name is Tom Stere and I’m running for a council position for the District of Tofino. I’ve been a resident of Tofino for 35 years. I was married in Tofino 21 years ago and have had the pleasure of raising my two sons, ages 16 and 19, in Tofino. I’m currently a rescue specialist at the Tofino Coast Guard station, an instructor in the Canadian Coast Guard Medic-A program, serve on Tofino council (2018-2022 ) am a Director on the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District and volunteer as a board member with the Rainforest Education Society. Previously, I was involved in the formation of Tofino Sea Kayaking Company in 1988 and worked with the Clayoquot Biosphere Project as the Field Station’s manager from 1992-2000. I have volunteered with Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society, Tofino Recreation Commission, was a previous executive on the USS Parent Advisory Committee, and coached Little League baseball.

My involvement in the community gives me a unique perspective and broad understanding of both the historical and current issues facing the residents of Tofino. Because of these experiences, I have had the opportunity to build relationships with residents and organizations from all walks of life and have shared many of the challenges and opportunities that face them.

I have chosen to run again because I feel my experience on the last term of council has made me a better councillor and I can more effectively serve the community in tackling the challenges and opportunities moving forward.

I firmly believe Tofino is an incredible place to live, raise a family, grow older and have a high quality of life.

John Enns

Thank you for this opportunity

I am a 25 year resident of Tofino and work parttime at Coop Hardware. run the Food Bank and the Tofino Rentals site on Facebook . I have served on various boards and on District housing committees, and feel I have a strong grasp of the housing issues.

I am a landlord and have also been a renter - for both vacation rentals and long-term rentals in Tofino. I have a Masters in Intercultural Ministries, and have traveled and volunteered in many countries, and seen how local people can live happily in tourist towns and also how sometimes they cannot. I try to follow Jesus, he gave me a new life and a Love for Him and others.

I’ve seen Tofino change and locals priced out of their homes, and want to protect and increase housing for locals; too much has been consumed by building/converting to tourist residences that we don’t have enough water for. We could have a better tourist experience AND better and more secure homes for local workers if we balance those two in a responsible way. And we need resorts to pay fairly for water, which pays for sewer treatment.

We need safe and healthy places for our workers, especially women who are vulnerable to being abused. Workers living in their own safe and healthy RV, van or tiny home on private property should have the right to do so without fear of bylaw evicting them.

We need to protect nature - the salmon, the beaches, and old growth trees - and we need to fight climate change.

I feel the mayor and council have good intentions in these issues and would like to be part of that team. I want to help locals have a secure, happy and balanced community.