Area D is filling up with Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) director candidates. Three nominees – the most of the rural areas so far – have come forward, the latest addition being Steve Baker.
Before retiring, Baker, 61, worked as a staff representative and negotiator for CUPE Local 15, representing support staff at colleges and universities in Vancouver. He has also served in senior roles for various Vancouver parent advisory councils, and has worked as president and treasurer of the provincial NDP riding of Vancouver-Hastings.
“I have the luxury of being retired at the moment and have been spending my last six years as a resident of the Coast and I’ve always followed the issues that are happening at the regional district as well as Gibsons and Sechelt, so I’ve got time to give back,” he said of his decision to run.
Baker, who has visited the Coast throughout his life, also cited his position as president of the Sunshine Coast Dart League as an opportunity to speak with people about Coast-wide issues.
Despite his background in education politics, his primary interests in running in Roberts Creek are water-related. Baker is not in favour of using meters to bill people according to use rather than the current flat tax. “My best guess is everyone on the Coast that have meters is expecting that down the road they’re going to be looking to charge for water, of which we’re already paying for,” said Baker.
He said water users should be educated about water conservation to help them get through drought season. “There’s lots of do-it-yourself solutions for storing water in anticipation of drought situations so people are able to continue to water their gardens. I’m not too interested in people watering their lawns.”
Baker also said he hopes to make headway on affordable housing in Roberts Creek, pointing to tiny homes as an idea he likes, but not necessarily a solution. He thinks size requirements for second dwellings that can accommodate larger families should be pursued as well. “The square footage of cabins I suspect would generate more interest for people to do weekly or weekend rentals, which does not address our issue of affordable housing.”
On the transportation front, Baker said the bypass that starts at the Langdale Ferry Terminal should be revived. “That project, I haven’t figured out how it’s stopped, why it’s stopped or why nobody has been pursuing it, but we do need to address some bypass issues to ensure there is better safety on our highways.”
Nomination period ends Sept. 14 and voting day is Oct. 20.