A shortage of homes and homelessness is on the mind of Courtenay mayoral candidate Aaron Dowker this upcoming election.
Dowker has lived in the Comox Valley for 27 years, after moving from the Lower Mainland in high school, and is a journeyman carpenter.
He says over the years, talking to various people in the community, he’s found there’s a shortage of housing in the city.
“I ended up realizing that infrastructure and those little special add-ons that we can have when we put in infrastructure wasn’t actually the most important issue,” said Dowker. “The most important issue was a single mom paying $2,100 for rent, [or] a drug-addicted teenager and a mom that loved them.”
He says the city needs to take an approach of being compassionate and loving in order to find solutions to the problem.
“We have to be careful because that is a thin line to tread. Love looks different than nice. You know that as a father, you know that as a teacher,” said Dowker. “You know that some people need some boundaries and I feel like we’ve lost that.”
He adds it will require a large discussion with residents and council to decide on a path forward.
“What I would encourage someone to do is go look at what Houston did, go look at what Medicine Hat did, go look at what Denmark did and that would be my answer of what we should do for homelessness,” said Dowker.
“Go look at the municipalities and the places that did these things and they worked. We go and look at that and we do that.”
Dowker did not go into detail about the municipalities.
Dowker thanks others who have told him their story and taken time to talk about community issues.
He is running against Erik Eriksson and incumbent mayor Bob Wells.
MyComoxValleyNow is reaching out to all mayoral candidates for their comments.