With the next set of municipal elections just around the corner, we in the Coast FM newsroom had a conversation with each of the upcoming mayoral candidates.
Today we profile the Sechelt incumbent mayor, Darnelda Siegers. Each of Sechelt’s four candidates were asked the same 6 questions.
Q1: On a personal level, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother. I have three children and three grandchildren. I am a mortgage broker, so as well as town stuff and the mayor stuff I also run a business. We’ve lived on the Sunshine Coast since 2009. I ran for council in 2011 and got elected to council that time. Put in two terms as a councilor and now one term as mayor.
Q2: What makes you qualified to be mayor?
I think I have the ability to look at anything that comes at me, but then also see how it relates to and impacts everything else around it. So, I can plan for the future while dealing with the day-to-day.
Q3: What are you most proud of from your time in office?
I would have to say it’s the collaboration that I’ve brought to the role. Both with local governments, other levels of government, and with community organizations. With the governments we have received over $14 million worth of grants for various projects over the last four years – the capital projects, Hackett Park, etc. – but with the community, I’ve led the Sunshine Coast community task force, for example, the business watch program downtown. So it’s collaborating with the governments and the community and together we have a much bigger reach than we do on our own as governments.
Q4: Do you have any regrets from your time in office?
I think it’s been a difficult term. We basically lost a year and a half in the term, so I wonder what we could’ve accomplished if we actually had a full four years to move things forwards. [My biggest lesson learned was] how strong this community is and how much the community cares about their neighbour and about what’s happening up and down the Sunshine Coast and it’s just fabulous.
Q5: What do you think is the biggest issue in this election?
Well it’s interesting. What I’m hearing from people is water is the biggest issue, but I’m also finding that most people aren’t educated and don’t know the information about where we are with the water and they think nothing’s been happening. I know the Church Road Well field, we’re waiting for the pump to come. When the pump comes, that thing is ready to go. Supply chain issues have actually slowed that down. So water is what’s on the community’s mind, because we’re in stage four [water restrictions] and we’re running out of water and all that kind of stuff.
I believe we’ve got it handled, [don’t get me wrong] there’s more work to do – lot’s more work to do – but I believe we’ve got that handled. I think what we need to do in Sechelt, what’s important to me, is actually doing some of the future planning around a new Official Community Plan for the community, the regional growth strategy for the Sunshine Coast – which we’re doing in conjunction with the SCRD. There’s lots of planning because change and growth is here. We need to get out in front of that and actually put the parameters in place so that it doesn’t happen and we’re not happy with the results.
Q6: Anything else you want to add?
I think it’s important that we a good group on council and up and down the coast because one of the things that we did this last term was we did a lot of work, and a lot of collaboration with Gibsons and the regional district and the Shishalh Nation. So it’s important that we have good people in all of the positions, so looking forward to continued work with them.