I am pleased to introduce myself, my name is Mitchell Baker, I am a 49-year resident of the District and am running for Council in North Vancouver. I was raised in the Seymour area of North Vancouver and was determined to stay in the district and currently live on the stunning Seymour River with my wife and two young daughters…..and our dog, Harley. I bought a small old house in North Vancouver in my 20’s and know what it is like to struggle to be able to live in this community which we all love so dearly.
I have witnessed the growth and change in our community and have a deep knowledge of our history, allowing me to make informed decisions. I have been a residential custom home builder and renovator for 32 years and have been working with the District of North Vancouver in all aspects for decades. I am also a 20-year IATSE member, I produce and act…a little less of the acting. I have helped build the community not only with my own two hands as a carpenter, but also through the employment of our citizens and the building of homes for both young and not as young families writing their own story in North Vancouver.
Being a fact driven individual I ensure that I have heavily researched an issue prior to forming and voicing my opinion. Through listening to new opinions and ideas and balancing with my own ideals I will make decisions to benefit the community at large.
As a small business owner you must have a solid understanding of financial management and budgeting. In this area I draw on decades of business experience.
With significant knowledge of history, process, development and bylaws, I feel I have a unique ability to be clear and transparent and answer many questions directly.
I am committed to keeping our municipality a desirable place to live, work and thrive for current and future generations.
North Vancouver has never been an inexpensive place to live.
When my wife and I first met she tells a funny story of thinking wow this guy lives in “North Van” until she saw the shack that I lived in and realized her recently purchased apartment in Port Coquitlam was comparatively a prize home. Through investing real sweat equity over the next number of years it really did become our dream home.
A community of single family homes was how the district was built and portrayed for decades. Much of this will not change due to geographical limitations but growth is a natural state of our world and the District of North Vancouver is no exception. If we do not grow, then comparatively we are shrinking. Major multi-family has its place in the District of North Vancouver as it does in most every city. Diversified housing ensures community vibrancy and allows for a diverse workforce.
We must however, move forward/grow thoughtfully and not with the mentality of keeping up with other regions who are less restricted by geography and citizen preference.
Stopping growth will simply drive prices up. Supply and demand is an elementary formula and should we limit supply, prices will rise accordingly. This does not mean that we can grow indefinitely, there will be a limit, but as long as we are strategic about each step and ensure that infrastructure is in place to manage the growth, we will maintain the quality of the community that we enjoy today.
One of the most discussed issues in our region is traffic. The obvious issue is the fact that we are limited by the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial Bridges which impedes the ability to cross travel throughout the district. This is a Federal, Provincial and Municipal issue that must continually be managed to ensure that improvements and strategic planning are always ongoing.
Although it “appears” to be solely a local issue, it is exacerbated by through traffic to other growing communities: Bowen Island/Sunshine Coast/Nanaimo/West Vancouver/Whistler and Squamish. We need to find a better way to move throughout our region without feeling like our community is divided by the Trans Canada Hwy.
The reality is that people commute to and from North Vancouver to work or visit and we are not about to change that no matter how many homes we do or do not build.
We need our community to explore how to keep all ranges of wage earners currently working here to be able to afford to live here as well. Public land is sitting dormant with no contribution to the tax payer. District land could be earmarked through long term leases to committed groups that dedicate their program to affordability.
Communication – open and transparent communication is a necessity.
Residents should not be required to search for information. People develop opinions based on information at hand and it is truly the responsibility of the municipality to ensure that accurate facts are reaching the target audience. This should be a proactive undertaking and not a reactive one.
We need to have a clearer path for residents to navigate the rules and regulations in their community. I have been dealing inside the district for better than 30 years and still find the system challenging, for a layman this has been seen as a source of frustration to many residents I have spoken with.
As our residents are from varied backgrounds, educations, occupations, and income levels we need to try to maintain a local society that supports all cross sections. This means allowing room for business, small and large.