Every municipal election brings out two groups: the incumbents and previous also-rans, and the fresh faces. We know enough about the incumbents and even those who have run before, but we never really get to know the fresh candidates their first time “at bat”. Have been a fresh candidate, and then an also ran, I know what these experiences feel like.
In retrospect, no matter how eager I was to pitch in, to serve, to do my part, in hindsight I can only breathe a deep sigh of relief it turned out I had no mass appeal, no political skills, or whatever I lacked to get elected. Now, however, it seems a good time to give the fresh faces some air-time, because unless you are a darling of the local political clique, the traditional media, such as it is in our small hamlet, will not give you the time of day, unless of course you buy a generous swath of advertising. Nothing to see here folks!
Without further adieu heeeeere’s Charles Borg!
Who is Charles Borg? Give me your general background.
I just concluded 10 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces. I deployed all around the world in support of many international peace time support missions. Throughout my career, I was responsible for team planning, data and information analysis and briefing high level government and military officials on timely and sensitive intelligence. My skills and background will give North Cowichan a councillor that is honest, trustworthy and efficient.
Since the age of 17, I have been employed in the health and wellness industry as I am very passionate about taking care of one’s health and fitness. I am currently employed as the assistant manager at the Anytime Fitness in Chemainus. I believe true health comes from balancing physical activity, proper nutrition, mitigating stress and receiving adequate sleep.
What motivated you to get into race?
I have chosen to run in this year’s local general election as I just concluded serving my country and now, I want to focus on serving my community. While concluding my service in Esquimalt, I met my beautiful fiancée Tate. She has lived in Chemainus her entire life. I quickly fell in love with all that the beautiful town had to offer. The fresh air, clean water and little pollution easily confirmed that this is the community I want to live in and raise my family in.
As a member of the middle class, I am witnessing first-hand how little the taxpayer is being listened to and respected. This is not only a federal or provincial matter, but a local issue too as there are local problems that council can address in order to raise the standard of living in North Cowichan. Businesses, families and individuals are struggling to maintain their livelihood, let alone try and get ahead. Our youth are moving to the big cities in search of opportunity and our retirees are witnessing the spending power of their fixed income shrink due to the high cost of living. I want to work with the council to help our middle-class residents live a more enjoyable life.
What past experiences guide your values?
During my 10-years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces, I deployed all around the world. I always put service before self. I can’t focus on just one experience, but looking back at my career as a whole, my duty to my country guided my values of honesty, accountability, integrity, and loyalty. My service solidified my values as without these core values, I could not be trusted by my superiors or subordinates. Trust, credibility and reliability are important in the military and without them trusting teams could not be formed. That is why I always strived to be the best that I could be, so that when time came to move forward, my team was there by my side listening to my every instruction.
Any anecdotes that illustrate your motivation or desire to be a Councillor?
Working at a fitness center, I get to interact with a lot of residents of North Cowichan. Talking with our membership and hearing all the stories of people struggling to afford rent or find a place to live motivated me to stand up and aid in fixing this issue that so many are struggling with. I have also had the privilege of talking to numerous small to medium size business owners and the nightmares they continuously face trying to receive a permit in order to expand their operation is really unacceptable. Even on the North Cowichan website, the average permit application will take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to complete. So, if any business owner wants to expand or improve their business, they must plan 1 year in advance in order to hurry up and wait for the approval to do any upgrades or modifications. I want to work with the council and improve permit processing timeframes so our permit application systems are efficient and quick.
How does your military background, or any other experience, help to qualify you for local governance?
Being an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces demands nothing but excellence with little room for failure. Being in charge of large groups of people required me to effectively listen and execute change in order to maintain or improve the quality of life of my subordinates. This is how I view my role as councillor. I will effectively listen to my constituents, be a team player with other council members and execute change efficiently for our community.
Also being the assistant manager at Anytime Fitness in Chemainus requires attentive listening and effective leadership. I have earned the trust of our membership, our members know that I am reliable and credible, so when time comes that a concern must be raised, they come to me knowing that problems will be solved and concerns will be resolved.
I strongly believe both my military and gym management experience does qualify me for office as it is second nature for me to be a quality listener, strong team player and apply effective solutions
Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to expand on what I will bring to the table to improve the standard of living for the residents in North Cowichan. Firstly, I understand that it will not only be me solving problems. I am a team player and it will take all of the council to effectively bring change to the community. Our housing crisis can be tackled not only by increasing supply, but by also allowing property owners to have more power over their land. I will advocate to the council to work with tax paying property owners so they have the power to build carriage homes, garden suites, basement suites and other types of secondary dwellings without lengthy and expensive red tape holding them back.
Now more than ever, families and individuals are relocating their small to medium size businesses to their properties. We need to work with these small to medium size business owners to reevaluate the current guidance and regulations that restrict these businesses from flourishing and being truly prosperous on their land.
With all this said, I also want to work with the community to preserve the beauty of our rural neighborhoods. I want to focus my energy on keeping our air fresh, waters clean and our lands unpolluted, while improving affordable housing options.