Mark Hiltz is a former wastewater treatment operator, truck driver, and geologist with a background in library sciences. Now he is hoping to clinch his first term as Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) director for Area F, West Howe Sound.
Hiltz, 57, who helped outgoing Area F director Ian Winn with his campaign in 2014, said he started considering the job after Winn made his announcement that he wouldn’t be seeking a second term.
“I spoke with Ian at the beginning and we had a couple of good conversations about what it involves,” Hiltz said in an interview Tuesday.
Hiltz finished his career as a wastewater treatment plant operator for the Town of Gibsons in 2015. He is a former president of the West Howe Sound Community association and current secretary treasurer. He cited his background in operations as one of his key strengths as a candidate.
“I bring an in-the-trenches, boots-on-the-ground point of view,” he said. “When you’re in the trenches you look at things differently from what the decision makers have told you to do.”
Key issues facing the incoming board will include dealing with solid waste and moving forward with the four water projects outlined in the regional district’s Comprehensive Regional Water Plan. Hiltz said he would like to see more data on water availability. And when asked whether he supports the Chapman Lake drawdown, he said, “We don’t know the stage of the project at this point; it’s a bit of an unknown what’s going to happen,” referring to the fact that a BC Parks decision on whether to recommend a redesignation of Tetrahedron Provincial Park is pending.
He also said that behaviour change will be a critical factor in solving the water crisis. “The solutions are going to be found with us, and they will be multiple, but ultimately we’ve got to believe that we do not have an unlimited resource,” he said.
As for solid waste, Hiltz said he wants to find a new landfill site rather than setting up a transfer station. “I think responsibly we should be managing our own waste; we shouldn’t be sending it away.”
No other candidates have so far announced they will be running in the area. The nomination period begins Sept. 4 and ends Sept. 14. The election is Oct. 20.