The race for seats around the Qualicum Beach council table heated up another notch this week, with word that Tom Davies is entering the fray.
The president of the Chartwell Residents’ Association made the announcement Tuesday, stressing that while he may be a neophyte in the electoral political system, he nevertheless brings much to the table.
“I bring maturity, common sense and experience to the table,” he said in an interview. “I started off as a labourer and whatever opportunity came up I took on and ended up being quite successful.
“I really do know how to get my hands dirty, because I’ve been there.”
Davies said he decided to enter the municipal election race because he has the time, the energy and the need to give something back.
“There are some people who, when they get to retirement age, have hobbies they thought about for a lifetime, but I am not going to spend a lot of time fishing,” he said. “I am dedicated to community service.”
Besides serving as head of the Chartwell Residents’ Association, Davies has been front and centre in the push to get a health centre in Oceanside, helped work on the Qualicum Beach sustainability plan and the OCP. He has also been involved in the airport land designation debate.
“I’m not happy just sitting there and clicking the channel changer on the TV,” he said. “I want to make a difference. I’ve been given so many things in life, I want to give back to society as best I can.”
Davies added that while he may be new to politics, he was also new to many other things in his life and he has turned out to excel at many of them.
Davies worked for many years in the human resources and labour relations field and, although he describes himself as semi-retired, he still keeps a few clients back in his home province of Saskatchewan.
Davies said he’s passionate about Qualicum Beach and its future and wants to take an active role in shaping that future.
“I don’t think the last chapter has been written about the water situation,” he said.
“In Chartwell, we had a situation of a combination of good water and then we over-developed and pumped into drilled wells and we got bad water, both us and Sandpiper — almost to the point where you didn’t dare walk by a sink full of water with a magnet in your pocket, because there’s so much iron in it.”
Chartwell, he said, joined the municipality exactly because of the water problem and now he couldn’t be happier with the water quality.
However, he sees this as a possible lesson for Qualicum Beach as a whole, going into the future.
“We need to maintain our water quality for us and for future generations,” he said.
“It’s a gift we’ve been given and we don’t want to over-develop.”
That said, he acknowledged that with the retirement of the huge Baby Boom generation, there will be continued pressure by seniors to move to Qualicum Beach.
“We need to prepare for the onslaught and make provisions for it,” he said. “There are ways we can develop higher density accommodations closer to the town core so more senior people have access to the services they need.”
One of his primary concerns, he said, involves people at the other end of the demographic.
“We need to create more opportunities for employment in the area,” he said. “Economic growth doesn’t come from Wal-Mart jobs, a town grows with industrial jobs or high-tech.”