Election 2018: Q&A with Michael Brooks-Hill

Candidate for Revelstoke City Council

Current job/career:

Owner/operator of Beaton Arm Reforestation. A Revelstoke based silviculture company.

Why do you live in Revelstoke?

Because I never found a better place to live. I have travelled to more than 25 different countries; crossed Canada back and forth multiple times, and just kept coming back here. Now my whole family lives here, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Why are you running for council/mayor?

I feel that council is in need of strong voices for the many, not just for the business community. A diversity of voices on council is important to reflect the diversity of people who make Revelstoke home. I feel I have a good blend of energy, time, and knowledge to make a strong contribution to our future council.

Why do you think you are qualified for the job?

In the last 4 years, I have attended a majority of council meetings and have a good understanding of how council works, and how it can work better for our community. Given that perhaps the most major issue facing Revelstoke is the shortage of affordable housing, I think my time on the board of the Revelstoke Community Housing Society would be an asset as a councillor. I also feel my lack of conflicts of interest for the major decisions regarding development mean that I will actually be sitting at the table and not in the hall when these crucial decisions are made.

What do you think the city should do to fund current and future infrastructure needs?

We need to raise our DCCs, but not so much as to halt development. We also need to start taxing the vacation rentals at a higher rate than other residential properties. Both to raise revenue, and maintain a sense of fairness in our community. If you’re using your house as a business, then you should be paying a commercial rate.

What do you think the city should do to address affordability for the average citizen?

There are two major ways that the city can help affordability. First is to find additional sources of revenue (taxing vacation rentals) so the average homeowner and business’s taxes don’t continue to rise. Secondly, the city needs to do more to encourage the building of affordable housing and staff housing to help relieve the pressure on rental rates. Any large new developments should either have to include affordable/staff housing, or pay into a fund to build new market rate housing. Having incentives to build market rate rental housing should also be in place, such as waiving DCC fees, to also encourage the private sector to build the types of housing we want.

What other issues would you want addressed if you were elected?

The OCP needs to be updated along with our archaic building and zoning laws. We need better and more consistent communication and consultation with our citizens. We also need to work in collaboration with the province to create a backcountry recreation access plan for our area to ensure sustainable growth of our outdoor tourism industry as well as safeguarding the natural environment for future generations. All of these need to be done within the context of a focused council that is working together.

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