This Saturday, November 28th, I will be voting for Ben Maartman to be our new Regional Director in Area H of the CVRD. I have known him for five years, and I thought I’d share the reasons why I’m voting for him.
1. Ben is a professional paramedic
With the global pandemic, and the virus lurking around every unsuspecting corner, it is very re-assuring to know that Ben is a professional Paramedic with 36 years experience under his belt, during which time he was also a Director of BC Emergency Health Services. If anyone knows how to stay calm during an emergency and how to serve us well during this troubled time, it’s Ben.
2. Ben is professional
He is professionally qualified to serve as our Regional Director. He has a BSc in Physiology from Queens/UBC and an MBA degree (Masters in Business Administration) from Royal Roads University. He also completed three years of a Certified General Accountancy (CGA) program while working as a paramedic.
3. Ben loves nature
Ben loves the Yellow Point area where he lives overlooking Michael Lake. He loves the rural ambience of our whole area, from the forests and the Diamond in the west to Elliot Beach in the south-east. He loves the morning mists, the big trees, the blue herons, and the peace and quiet that our rural existence gives us. He has chosen the purple martin as his emblem. He will be a good guardian for the forest, and for all of Nature. He also understands the threatening nature of the climate crisis, and the measures we will need to take to tackle it, and to protect ourselves against the changes that are coming.
4. Ben is a farmer
He raises Hereford beef cattle on his farm, and he served as a Director of the Farmers’ Institute for several years. He understands farmers’ needs, including such things as a secure supply of water, and he understands the conflicts that can arise, whether it is the smell of manure, invasive geese, or unwanted noise from bird-scaring devices.
5. Ben runs a small business
He and his daughter Lexi run the Michael Lake Kennel, which involves sustaining long-term relationships with his dog-owning customers, keeping good relationships with his neighbours, and doing conflict resolution between the dogs. There are many of us who run home-based businesses in Area H, so it’s good to know that Ben understands our needs.
6. Ben loves community
He doesn’t use the word community vaguely. He feels it very personally in the strength of relationships between friends and neighbours that is so important in a rural area such as ours. He is often out helping someone, from clearing snow to responding to a knock on the door at night from someone in need of medical assistance. As a paramedic, he knows the crises and vulnerable realities that all of us have to live through at various points in our lives. He wants to build harmony, not stir unnecessary conflicts.
7. Ben knows how to listen
The number one thing you learn as a paramedic is the importance of listening and understanding before jumping in with a diagnosis. For 18 years Ben was an instructor with the Justice Institute of BC, training paramedics, while also training himself about mediation and conflict resolution. As a Regional Director, he will inevitably face problems and conflicting hopes. I am reassured to know that he will always pause to listen and understand, learning both sides of whatever is at stake, rather than jump to a hasty conclusion.
8. Ben is steady and calm
He is not confrontational or hot-headed. He would always rather calm a storm than whip one up.
9. Ben believes in communication
Many people in Area H feel out of the loop about what’s going on with development proposals, and whatever else may or may not be happening at the CVRD. Ben wants to open new lines of communication that will enable everyone to know what’s going on, when, where, and how, starting with a participatory community-wide website.
10. Ben has a long-term commitment to our region
Ben has lived here for fifteen years, and with a working farm, a family, an active kennel and his love of the community, he’s not going anywhere. He wants to serve us for the long haul.
So there you go. I’m voting for Ben with all my heart. I hope you will too.
Voting is at North Oyster School from 8am-8pm. There are details on the CVRD website.