Scott Harrison. - Submitted photo

Three questions for Qualicum Beach councillor candidate Scott Harrison

Candidate for councillor

What do you feel is the most pressing election issue in your community?

The most pressing issue in this election is the increasing split between how much income citizens receive and how much it costs to live in our community. For the past two and a half years, prices for real estate in Oceanside have increased at a rate of roughly 15% each year, while median incomes in Qualicum Beach have only increased by 13.7% in the past decade. There is also an incredibly strong external demand for real estate. While supply alone will not address this problem, we can’t address this problem without increasing supply.

We need to partner with non-profits and other levels of government as building costs for residential homes are currently at least $230/sqft on the island. Location alone will not result in housing for young families or low income seniors. Several chances to build affordable housing have passed us by. We need to get this right.

How will you balance the needs of seniors and those of younger residents?

I think it would be a mistake to characterize either demographic as singular entities in a black and white choice. Neither group is only one thing, nor is the choice an either/or. Within each demographic there’s a tremendous range of aptitudes, interests, and capabilities. Our challenge is to ensure that as many citizens within each group have as many opportunities as possible to reach their goals.

To that end, we should focus on economic diversification. Support for healthcare professionals and the technology sector should be a priority. The interaction between these two sectors can lead to new ideas on how to provide health care and promote independence. For seniors we need to do everything we can to promote that same independence. This in turn helps ensure economic activity in the service sector. Our ages don’t define our connection to our communities or to each other. Our principles do.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

What sets me apart is my lived experience and strong family connections to our town and the region. From my time in insurance I learned the importance of assessing risks, from my time teaching I learned the importance of patience and communication, and from providing live-in care I learned the importance of sympathy and structure.

From my time at both UBC for my undergraduate degree and at l’Université de Montréal for my post-graduate work, I learned how to find good sources, how to question your own assumptions, and how there’s always more to learn.

But I’ve learned the most from my family, and I have more family members in Oceanside than there will be candidates on stage during an all candidates forum. I see their struggles, and know that there are hundreds of other citizens with the same problems. And that’s why I’m running.

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