Tony Bennett is running for re-election in Area C (Long Beach). SUBMITTED PHOTO

ELECTION 2018: west coast communities face unique pressures, says Tony Bennett

Bennett says more work to be done in ACRD Area C (Long Beach)

For those I have not had the opportunity to meet my name is Tony Bennett and I am seeking your continued support for the position of Director for Area C Long Beach in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

I have lived on the west coast for more than 40 years now, raised my family here, struggled with many of you during the tough times and have seen the many changes that have impacted our region. I have worked directly in the logging, fishing and tourism industries and have been directly involved in the many issues that they face both previously and as director.

My partner Linda was born and raised in Ahousaht. As such I have a strong understanding of the issues that First Nation communities face and the struggle and successes the right to self-determination mean. Area C is a huge geographical region, we are a collection of diverse communities with a wide range of needs and ability to provide those services. I will continue to work with other west coast communities in providing regional services recognizing our abilities in being able to provide those services and in a cost effective manner.

The pressures facing us both externally and within the individual communities that make up Area C are varied and complex. Regional discussions include housing, transportation, emergency planning, waste management, water and health care provision. I will continue to work with our partners to provide a vision and seek solutions on these issues.

Salmon Beach is a growing community within Area C that is meeting the challenges of its infrastructure needs with the direct participation of an owners committee. The committee working with ACRD staff developed the workplan and budget for services at Salmon Beach which is then presented for approval to the lot owners. The sharing of a community survey will help guide the committee’s future decisions.

South Long Beach is a balance of infrastructure,, maintaining a rural lifestyle and the needs of individual residents. With the advice from a strong Area Advisory Committee I believe we have struck that balance. Full participation from all communities in the region to actively engage on projects of regional consequence is key to our future.

I continue to help lead the ACRD in recognition of First Nations right to self-determination, including the adoption of the Ahousaht Land Use Vision. This is the guiding document for any development within Ahousaht traditional territory. As well as the ACRD’s continued support to a negotiated settlement to the T’aaq-wiihak fisheries court case.

Along with Central Coast RD I have helped spearhead the beginnings of a dialogue that challenges the issue of transfer payments from federal sources to non-treaty nations. The continued lack of ability for First Nations communities to address the needs of their residents on regional projects is a disgrace and would not be tolerated by any other community.

There are many issues that impact us from external decision making. The DFO SRKW proposed strategy if fully adopted has major implications for all west coast communities. I will continue to lobby for community access and local decision making, while developing strategies to preserve and protect, as we continue utilization of the marine environment.

The proposed development within the Alberni Inlet both by the Port Alberni Harbour Authority and HFN would have lasting effect and must proceed cautiously and with broad community understanding. It will be critical to insure public faith in all processes and review. I look forward to a vigorous public engagement by the proponents.

Many thanks and please do not hesitate to contact me 250 726-1224 or tonben1@telus.net

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