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It may seem odd that I would rise today to speak in favour of The Cultus Lake Park Amendment Act which resides in the riding of Chilliwack-Hope (MLA Laurie Throness), but I was contacted by a number of constituents who had summer homes in the area. This is what prompted me to examine this legislation more deeply. Below is the text of my speech.

While the member for Chilliwack-Hope is probably wondering what the member for Oak Bay–Gordon Head is doing standing up to speak in favour of the Cultus Lake act, I will add that I had a number of constituents who e-mailed me specifically about this act because they have summer homes in Cultus Lake. They pleaded with me to support this act. I’d like to read one of the e-mails that I received from the constituents. It said as follows:

“We are two of your constituents who have a summer home at Cultus Lake. Currently the residents of Cultus Lake Park do not have a democratic election process. Residents can only vote for two of seven politicians who represent them. By you voting yes for this bill, it will make a considerable improvement in democracy and accountability for the Cultus Lake Park, thus improving the future sustainability for this wonderful area, which is enjoyed by thousands of B.C. residents every year.”

Now, of course, as soon as an e-mail mentions the word “sustainability,” my ears perk up, so I took some time to explore this bill further.

The Cultus Lake Park Amendment Act takes an important step forward in the lead-up to the 2014 municipal elections to ensure that the residents of Cultus Lake are adequately represented in their government. The act would change the number and composition of representatives from the current structure of seven representatives, two of whom are Cultus Lake residents, to the new structure of five representatives, three of whom are Cultus Lake residents.

By increasing the representation of local residents, this bill will further empower those residents to sustainably manage a park that is enjoyed by so many British Columbians, including residents from the Oak Bay–Gordon Head riding here on southern Vancouver Island.

I, too, would like to thank the government and the member for Chilliwack-Hope for his work to bring and introduce this bill forward, and I very much look forward to supporting its adaptation at second and third readings and committee stage.

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