Matt in the Media
Its not just incumbent councilors that can make progress in the community. See what I have done so far.
2018 Campaign Media
in 2014 I was presented with the challenge of creating a municipal innovation that could create more affordable housing. I gathered a cross-functional team of students, and we developed a project proposal that would house students with seniors. Our proposal won first place in the design competition of over 100 teams from across Ontario. Our proposal went in front of mayors from across Ontario, and it earned high marks for its attention to detail and comprehensive policy considerations.
Vacant Commercial Spaces
Solutions to our challenges need to come from the community first. So instead of waiting for council to enact some sort of vacant property bylaw, I worked with the Sechelt Chamber and Holywell Properties to do a tour of vacant commercial spaces for any businesses looking for space. I am proud to say that many of these spaces have been filled since this event in October 2017.
The second stage of this project was to gather all interested parties in a room. We got property owners, business owners, and council members together to discuss potential solutions to the large number of commercial vacancies in Sechelt. I facilitated this meeting, ensuring that all voices were heard and practical ideas came out of the discussion.
Sechelt Farmers and Artisans Market
This project I'm a little less proud of from a personal perspective, but it is something that needed to be done through my position with the Sechelt Downtown Business Association. Some businesses had concerns that the farmers market was competing with their products and blocking access to downtown Sechelt.
I spoke for these businesses, and raised their concerns to the Farmers Market and the District of Sechelt, but rather than being combative and non-collaborative, I looked for ways that the Downtown Business Association could work together and support each other in building a vibrant downtown. The SDBA and the Farmers Market have now collaborated many times, most significantly on Canada Day 2018.
I was hired by the Sunshine Coast Community Solar Association to investigate the feasibility of a community-owned solar array. The timing of the project was not ideal, and the business model had some challenges, so it didn't move forward. I was, however, able to host a large public forum with local solar experts to share the benefits of residential solar installations.
Increased Bus Service
As part of my involvement with Transportation Choices, I advocated for increased bus service last year. Last September the SCRD announced half hour bus service during peak times.
I wrote to the SCRD to thank them for adjusting bus times to better suit employees in Downtown Sechelt using transit.
Inglis Trail/Helen's Way
I had a very small part in this project, I volunteered for a couple weekends cutting trail, but it is something I am very proud of, and I hope more projects like this can come in Sechelt.
Transportation Choices advocated for a less steep path up the hill in Gibsons. There was space in the forest by Shaw Rd, but a trail needed to be built. We organized volunteers to clear the trail, a contractor donated the use of his excavator for a couple of hours, and the Town of Gibsons capped the trail with crusher dust. If the Town of Gibsons took on this project alone, I don't think it would have happened.
This is a great example of how the community can support the municipality in delivering cost effective projects.
Trail Ave Reconstruction
I have spoken publicly about the need for a safe transportation corridor for all on Trail Ave in Sechelt. The current cycling network in Sechelt is a patchwork, the sidewalks up Trail Ave are insufficient, and the road in uneven for vehicles. The reconstruction project provides an opportunity for all to access downtown Sechelt safely, and I hope it can be completed in full soon.
Canada Day 2018
Part of my job with the Sechelt Downtown Business Association is organizing large events such as Oktoberfest and the Festival of Lights parade. This year I took on the responsibility of coordinating much of the Canada Day celebrations in Sechelt.
If you ask me, I think it went great, but we always need more volunteers.