LynnValleyLife asked each Lynn Valley-residing DNV council candidate to respond to a set of questions designed to help readers become acquainted with their views. Read about candidate Robin Hicks, below, and see our original story for links to all the candidate profiles.
What prompted you to run for re-election?
I have enjoyed my last three terms during which many achievements were completed by Council. These included the completion of an Official Community Plan and the establishment of a Finance and Audit Committee, which I chair. Apart from the Mayor, I am the only Councillor with a financial background (CPA) and I believe we need leadership through a transition period with new Councillors.
What experience do you bring to the job that you believe would be valuable?
I have over 40 years of financial experience in business and local government. I have lectured and written manuals on municipal finance, including the provincial best practises guide on development cost charges and development finance. I also have a multi-generational family here on the North Shore.
I have represented the North Shore over four years as a member of Metro Vancouver’s Finance Committee and the last three years on the Utility Committee. This has enabled me to participate in the design and financing of the $1 billion dollar Water Treatment Plant near Rice Lake and the proposed Sewer Treatment Plant which will replace the current primary treatment at Lions Gate and cost an estimated $800 million.
The financial impacts of both projects are immense and in particular the major cost of the new Sewer Treatment Plant will be borne by the North Shore.
I have been involved in researching and presenting on asset management and I can assure you that our staff at DNV is leading the Province in sustainable repair and replacement of all our underground structures, roads and buildings.
I also have a multi-generational family involved in all aspects of the community so I have considerable experience in where we are and where we should be headed.
What do you appreciate about the manner in which DNV Council currently conducts its affairs?
We have no political party affiliations, are collegial and whilst often arguing from different perspectives, respect the varying opinions and move on after making a decision. We have often been described by external professionals as one of the most effective Councils in the region.
What would you like to see change?
I would like to research a more practical way of engaging with residents on important policy, development and capital programs. Many of these have enormous financial impact and unfortunately many residents only get involved when decisions have been made and then express their concerns.
Lynn Valley’s town planning process was long and, in some respects divisive. What was your experience with this process, and what did you learn?
I was a Councillor rep on the OCP steering committee and over an exhaustive three-year period went to most of the committee meetings and the public dialogues and round tables. We had significant input and participation from interested residents. The main challenges occurred when implementation started and many residents began to realise the wide ranging implications of the OCP and in many cases only then started to raise their concerns.
What do you think is the most difficult challenge councillors have to face in their work?
I see two significant challenges that both incumbent and prospective councillors face. One is the time demand – upwards of 35 hours per week and most of it evening work. The other is becoming knowledgeable of the many aspects of local government, from the unique finance and accounting methodology to transportation, infrastructure maintenance and planning and zoning bylaws. Without prior experience, in my opinion, it takes at least three years to get up to speed.
What do you appreciate about the Lynn Valley community?
- Residents are most willing to adapt to change
- The vibrant social community, especially the involvement of families and young children in sports and cultural activities
- It is full of volunteers, a measure of the community
What would you like voters to know about you?
I have lived in Lynn Valley for 35 years and have three daughters, who all went to Upper Lynn, Argyle and UBC. They were all involved in community and school sports, soccer (which I coached), swimming, water polo, basketball, volleyball skiing etc. and also through the band program and jazz choirs.
They all live on the North Shore with my seven grandchildren and that is the main reason for my political involvement: to ensure a viable and healthy environment for all families who aspire to live in this beautiful community.
Learn more about Robin on his campaign website.