Skye Donald wears many hats in the community of Oceanside and after the municipal election on November 11 this year she would like to add one more title to her repertoire.
The 34-year-old Errington resident who celebrated her birthday on September 24 also used the occasion to announce that she is going to run in the campaign for regional district electoral area director in area F.
Lou Biggemann currently holds the title of Area F Director for the Regional District of Nanaimo but the politician who represents Coombs, Hilliers and Errington so far has not announced his intention to seek re-election.
Donald is the first to declare her candidacy for Area F director and admits that although she hasn’t been involved in the political arena before, she believes she can offer a fresh new approach to solving the issues in the community.
It’s a job that will last until December 2014, but Donald said she is ready to commit and she is serious about running for office even if she has little experience in the field.
“Nobody else has declared yet and I know there are other candidates that are just getting ready,” she said. “I thought why not me? I am ready to make a commitment to this and I am excited about the possibilities. I told my manager at the hotel so that she is aware of what I am doing so if I do get elected I will be leaving. I am serious about it.”
Aside from her hotel job, Donald fills her days and nights as the choir director at St. Stephens United church in Qualicum Beach, singing in a choir group in Nanaimo, raising Alpacas at her farm in Errington and spinning and selling wool at the Errington Farmers Market.
She admits her resume doesn’t include a business background or local politics but she said she thinks she can bring a different perspective to the position.
“I don’t want to be branded as the opera singing alpaca farmer who is running for office, but that is basically what I am,” she said. “I think it brings a practical advantage to it and a completely different perspective and I am eager to learn and listen to people and talk to people.
“Sometimes when people are so passionate about something they can’t come across clearly and I am not sure as a result of that how well we are perceived at the RDN.”
Donald has been thinking of running for local politics for about a year.
She got interested when the whole building permit issue started.
“I am ready for a change in my life and the community is definitely ready for a change too. A lot of how the community feels really resonates with me and the core values in our official community plan we really value.”
She said as a young family person she has the energy to represent the community.
“I think what Errington needs is a community advocate at the RDN and I think our incumbent has done a lot of work in the past but maybe he has just got tired.”
As an example, she points to the Errington Community Park.
“We have had a bathroom constructed and finished for over a year now and we are still dealing with the red tape to get it open. The hall board and farmers market should have had an advocate to go to and say, help us.”
She admitted she doesn’t know whether or not the RDN director can actually do to anything to get through red tape but agreed the community needs somebody to be on their side to do that.
She said the issue with the building permits is a very significant challenge for the community but unfortunately it has been passed.
“It would have been great if it had been left to be an election issue and it really should have. It would be nice if there is any possibility that it could be modified to make it easier for farmers to deal with the impacts of it. It is ridiculous for someone like me. If my chicken house burns down I would have to apply for a building permit for that and the profit that we make on selling our eggs doesn’t allow for a $150 building permit.”
She said if someone wants to build greenhouses to provide food for the community the building permit process should be made easier for farmers.
“If you are building structures for livestock, greenhouses, and housing equipment, we should come up with reasonable options. Those are the things I am interested in,” she said.