North Cowichan candidate feature

Municipality of North Cowichan

In the run up to the civic election we asked North Cowichan candidates some basic questions:

Describe yourself and your experience.
Why did you decide to run?
What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?
Do you live within North Cowichan?
Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?
We have posted the answers to the questions, verbatim, in the order they were received, below.

Catherine Pastula


I have lived in North Cowichan for 38 years.
I was born and raised in the Ottawa valley and my family was involved in farming and politics there. I moved to the Cowichan Valley in the 1970’s. Prior to arriving in the Cowichan Valley I worked in the tourist industry as Program Director for Israel for FunSun Tours. I planned and hosted tours, mostly of farmers to see the farming techniques employed by Israel and Egypt where innovation in water conservation was critical. Later I became a realtor and earned my credentials as an appraiser. I worked in the local real estate industry for many years. After leaving the real estate business I worked with Pastula Farms, marketing its famous potatoes for 25 years.
I have over 30 years of public service in the Cowichan Valley, serving on the following Boards and social clubs, in a volunteer capacity,

1. Chamber of Commerce-Tourism,
2. Mental Health Board,
3. Maple Bay Rowing Club Board,
4. Farmers Institute Board,
5. Women’s Institute,
6. Cowichan Green Community,
7. Island Farmers Alliance,
8. Eagles Auxillary,
9. Red Hatters, Queen,

After being involved in community projects for 30 years the inevitable next step is local politics. My main concerns are the environment, especially water issues and providing affordable rental housing. .We must be innovative and sustainable. We need to be fiscally responsible while doing this and try and work within our budget. We cannot keep raising property taxes for every new issue that arises. I believe my background in farming, studying the water conservation techniques of other countries and my work with mental health has prepared me to tackle these issues. We need a fresh approach, I will provide that.

I am on Facebook, Catherine Pastula for Councillor email [email protected]

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Paul Fletcher

Describe yourself and your experience.

I am a 65-year-old self-employed photographer and photography teacher at Brentwood College School for the last 18 years. I have lived in the Cowichan Valley for 32 years and I share my life with 6 children and 7 grandchildren. I am the founder and President of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, have served on the board of Cowichan Wheels for 8 years and was a Duncan city councillor for 6 years (2005-11). I enjoy travelling to third world countries to document social and environmental issues.


Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?

I am running for North Cowichan council because I love the Cowichan Valley and I have the skills and experience needed to work collaboratively and collectively with others. My lengthy community service, on both sides of the council table, provides me with enough knowledge and maturity to contribute to a positive future for North Cowichan.


What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?

Homelessness, Urgently increase the amount of affordable housing in the Cowichan Valley. This would include supporting secondary suites, carriage houses or ‘tiny homes’. Hire temporary staff using grant monies to expedite the development improvement process.Establish transitional housing for people completing treatment from accredited treatment programs. Often these folks have no place to go and no hand to hold when they leave treatment.

Lack of Regional Growth Study, I would encourage council to lobby for a North Cowichan leadership role in encouraging the CVRD to lead a comprehensive Regional Growth Study with the goal of striking a balance between development and protection of the environment in the Cowichan region.

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Water quality in Quamichan and Somenos Lakes-  Council needs to take a more aggressive stance towards all runoff, urban stormwater and agriculture, to reduce the phosphorous entering the lakes


Do you live in North Cowichan?

I currently live in Duncan. Most of my volunteer work takes place in North Cowichan and have lived in North Cowichan for many years


Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?

Facebook- elect fletcher, website


Debra Toporowski

Describe yourself and your experience.

My name is Debra Toporowski, my Quw’utsun  (Cowichan) name Qwulti’stunaat. I was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, with a First Nation and Chinese Heritage. My mother is Ethel Jack and my father is Howard Wong. I have three brothers and two sisters.
I have worked as a Constituency Assistant for 12 years alongside MLA, Doug Routley and MLA, Bill Routley, with comprehensive knowledge of provincial government legislation, programs and services, and community resources. As a Constituency Assistant I was required to monitor local government and community activities to keep the member informed on local issues. Also, I have been requested to represent the MLA’s at public and community functions. I believe the compassion and courage I have developed in my years of work on behalf of the people of the Cowichan Valley, will allow me to serve you well.
I am a third term elected Cowichan Tribes Councillor (2013, 2015 & 2017) sitting on various committees: Appointed to the Cowichan Watershed Board, Cowichan Watershed Society, Cowichan Tribes Treaty, Health Advisory Committee, Cowichan Nation Alliance, Fishing Committee, Khowutzun Gaming Corp., Justice Committee and the Duncan-Chamber of Commerce. Past Committees: Island Corridor Foundation (Alternate), Quw’utsun Kw’atl’ Kwa (Ocean) Fisheries Board and Housing Committee.


Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?

I am passionate about fighting for the protection of our local water, land and air but also understand the need for balance between our environment and a strong economy. We can truly have both; it does not have to be one or the other. I am an inclusive person who knows how to lead and will bring your voice to the table on social and economic issues.   As a community advocate and a First Nations Councillor, I am passionate on working on continuing to build bridges and to find fair solutions for all our communities.

  1. What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?

There are many critical issues, for example water, affordable housing, and social issues.

  1. Do you live in North Cowichan?

Yes, I live in Chemainus and before that I lived in Duncan, BC for 42 years.

  1. Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?facebook page: 


David Haywood

Describe yourself and your experience.
My name is David Haywood and are seeking a return to NORTH COWICHAN COUNCIL.
PREVIOUSLY  I have served on COUNCIL for 10 years between 2000-2011 and 3 years as a CVRD DIRECTOR 2009-2011.
On council, my primary involvement was 10 years on FINANCE and ADMINISTRATION committee and the PUBLIC WORKS committee
and was committee PUBLIC WORKS CHAIR for 2009-2011.
In the period from 1969 to 1978, I served as a SD#69 COWICHAN SCHOOL TRUSTEE and was BOARD CHAIRMAN for 1970 and 1971.
In 1976, I became CHAIR of the JOINT CVRD-SCHOOL DISTRICT COMMUNITY COMMITTEE building committee that opened in late 1978.
YES I reside in NORTH COWICHAN now and for the past 46 years.
Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?
With 4 vacant seats, I thought my previous COUNCIL experience would be very helpful to whom becomes MAYOR.
What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?
Do you live in North Cowichan?
Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?
NO! E-MAIL ADDRESS  [email protected]
Home phone 2507487585
Patrick Hrushowy

Patrick Hrushowy, a resident of the Cowichan Valley for more than 30 years, is a family man and committed outdoor enthusiast.  He is married with four adult children and three grandchildren.


He believes in creating systems that work for everyone, from the top government official to the individual constituent, and always being ready to adjust to better accommodate the interests of people trying to live and work together.  In short, Patrick believes in collaboration and diversity.


He believes North Cowichan plays a key role in how the whole of the Cowichan Valley functions in environmental, cultural, social, recreation, economic and infrastructure terms. 


Patrick is a communications, public relations and regulatory affairs consultant who specializes in government and regulatory affairs.  His experience includes working in an advisory capacity for various levels of government as well as assisting those with private and corporate interests who are working their way through governmental regulation and policy.  He knows how government works and he knows how to make things happen.

Patrick is asking North Cowichan voters to give him a chance to utilize his skills and experience to ensure that North Cowichan continues to be a great place to live, work and play.

 Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?

I am concerned that North Cowichan Council could use a dose of new blood and a broader diversity of political philosophies.  My professional work has always demanded strong levels of collaboration if success was to be achieved by the stakeholders I was working with.  Diversity fosters collaboration; therefore, I believe voices from across the political spectrum should be represented on council. In the absence of diversity council can end up as an echo chamber, where thinking outside the box is next to impossible.


What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?

Everyone seems to agree that the soaring cost of housing is a primary issue, …there is no question.

I believe determined and focussed efforts must be undertaken to improve the climate for small, independent businesses.  There is evidence that the current administration is inflexible in the application of its land use rules and bylaws. I believe we need to take an approach that encourages innovation and creativity in our small business community.


Do you live in North Cowichan?



Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?

Tek Manhas
(In this case we were supplied with the brochure – below)
John Koury – Served prior to 2014

Describe yourself and your experience.

I served North Cowichan for 2 terms between 2008 and 2014. I had 100% attendance and I was always prepared for meetings. I live in North Cowichan toward Maple Bay. I’m married with 2 adult sons who have left the nest. I have a masters degree in business and I am a qualified professional in governance.

Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?

We need to get North Cowichan’s economy moving forward to provide the education, skills training and job opportunities we desperately need. We need to end the CVRD creep into North Cowichan’s business. We need to stop the political interference that blocks business investment and development. I’m urging people to vote NO to the referendum questions to stop the horrendous TAX GRABS by the CVRD.

What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan? 1) We have a public health crisis and its out of control. No more meetings and bureaucracy we need a Public Health Crisis Action Plan put in place at street level immediately. We must demand Island Health resources to begin case management triage to process and connect the sick, addicted, demented, and old homeless people to the outreach and social services they need to get off the street. We need to come down hard on the dirty fentanyl dealers too. We need to make life real tough for them to live here.

2) We have a housing crisis. We need to take off the stranglehold environmentalist politicians have on Cowichan builders and let them build housing for everyone. Vote No to CVRD Housing TAX. We can do it ourselves and do it better in North Cowichan.

3) Economic crisis must end. Our average annual growth rate is less than 1%. That’s terrible and its the biggest cause to the crime and vagrancy all around us. This needs to change if we have any hope of providing opportunity people and families need to survive and thrive over the long term.

Do you live in North Cowichan? Yes we live near Maple Bay now and we plan to retire on our property in Maple Bay.


Do you have a website

Facebook page

Nick Caumanns
Describe yourself and your experience.
I’ve worked with and led people in organizations large and small, 120,000 employees to 5 employees for over thirty years.  I’ve learned how bureaucracies work, how things get done, and how things get stalled. I’ve learned the benefits of experience and the quicksand of entrenched thinking. My experience spans engineering, construction, regulated utilities, and multinational energy companies. I’ve worked with trades, with lawyers, with executives and from the shop floor to the boardroom, I will bring my strong record of getting things done with the necessary  diplomacy, salesmanship, innovation, and determination.Why did you decide to run for council?
I’m running for office because I love the Cowichan Valley. I live in North Cowichan and so that’s the right place for me pitch in to  preserve, protect, and enhance. I grew up here playing in the forests, fishing the streams, and want that same kind of experience for everyone who chooses to make this their home. My business experience tells me there are solutions waiting if we have open minds and want to find them, over wanting just our own result. My life experience tells me that people with fair hearts will listen if you listen to them. That’s what I want to do.What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?
Federal and Provincial governments exist to paint the broad brush strokes. They look after defense, trade, health care, welfare, environment, waters & oceans.. They look after the big stuff that affects the nation and province.The details, the fine brush strokes, they  leave to municipal governments. Local roads, arenas, parks, water supply , sewage, land development, police, fire – these are all of the fine details, for the fine brush of municipal government.Local government should focus on the micro,  not the macro, the fine strokes, not the broad.

I don’t want to MAKE affordable housing,  but make housing affordable, I’m not focussed on saving the climate, but want to save Quamichan Lake, I’m not afraid afraid of new business and industry, but I want to see good, planned development, and finally, I will not just pay lip service to keeping a lid on taxes, but actually believe the taxpayers in our community matter just as much as anyone else.

Do you live within North Cowichan?

Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?  nickcaum[email protected]  604-961-8707

Kate Marsh – Incumbent

It has been an honour to serve on North Cowichan council for the past two terms and its been a blessing to live in North Cowichan for 40 years, in the south end, Westholme and now Chemainus.

As a former two-term school trustee, facilitator, grandmother, volunteer, citizen, I am deeply engaged and connected to building the best community possible.

This term, council, in spite of a lot of challenges, accomplished many things—too many to list them all, but here are some of the most significant.

We rezoned for secondary suites – 2400 mortgage helpers and affordable rentals, an additional 2000 new units, conventional, smaller homes, townhouses and supportive housing; and we created a Parks and Trails master plan, completed the diking project, improved our communications, and hired the right CAO for the work we need to accomplish.

In this next term, with your help, Council will update the Official Community Plan, overall the most important thing we can do because that plan is our way of making North Cowichan the best place to be. At the last minute in 2011 before passing the current OCP, Council, ignored the recommendation of staff and the public on the location of the Urban Containment Boundary, rolling what was supposed to be the Future Growth Area (30 years down the road, if needed) into the UCB. I was in the room, and it was the thing that made me decide to come forward. I had applied to be on the Climate Action and Advisory Committee, and was not accepted. To me, making Cowichan resilient enough to face the changing climate (weather and socioeconomic) is one of the most important things we can do.

We have significant work to do to build a resilient community. Soaring property values have reduced rental opportunities and made it harder to purchase for locals, and the opioid and homelessness crisis have rocked us to our core. This summer’s fire on Maple Mountain, that thankfully was contained in a few days, coupled with the uncontained fire at Nanaimo Lakes, was a wake-up call for the work we need to do to adapt to climate change. We need to focus on smart growth, growth we can support and where can ecosystems handle it. The kind of development that connects us to one another and protects the environment. Let’s work together to make our official community plan as forward-thinking, inclusive, and culturally sensitive as possible.

Building a good plan is all about relationships. As your councillor, my work has gone beyond roads, sewers and waste. I have worked with many local organizations working the front lines of pressing social issues, and through reconciliation work, I have built relationships with First Nations.

I offer stability and vision as a community leader. I am asking for your support to help me to continue building these bridges, these relationships, and our community.
Please vote for me, Kate Marsh, on October 20th. FB Kate_Marsh


Rosalie Sawrie

Describe yourself and your experience.

I have been driving community engagement and action, by connecting with people across the Cowichan Region on issues we all care about over the last 5 years. Local water, housing, renewable energy, local food, and democracy are some of the issues I have been working on.

As a community facilitator with One Cowichan and now Social Planning Cowichan, I have extensive experience bringing people together to host respectful discussions that allow for collaboration, new ideas and interactive decision making.

I’ve worked hard to develop leadership by encouraging others to actively participate in the community and am proud of the progress that’s been accomplished in working with different community groups, organizations, businesses, First Nations and other governments to create positive change in our communities.

Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?

I’m running because I believe I have the skills to make a good councillor. I do fact based research to get a better understanding of an issue, I ask questions, seek and listen to different points of view with an open mind and take all of that into consideration to make good decisions and plan collaboratively.

While I have the same concerns that many of us do with the issues our communities are facing, I’m also worried about the divide that is happening. We need to learn from our different experiences and perspectives, listen to each other and work together to be able to move forward.

What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?

North Cowichan has so much potential to move ahead on environmental and social issues while still maintaining our core services to better support those who really need it. I’ve been hearing a lot from people that they want to be more involved in decisions that are being made in their neighbourhoods especially around land use. We need to ensure we have enough water where development is being proposed and support projects that make housing more attainable for more people. My goal is to make sure we do this with community input while also preserving our ecosystems and green space.

Adapting and mitigating the impacts of climate change is also a priority. With the re-evaluation of the Official Community Plan over the next term, I know how important it will be for everyone to participate in that process while also integrating recommendations from the Climate Action and Energy Plan.

 Do you live in North Cowichan?

Yes, I live on Westholme Road.

Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?


cell: 250-701-3134

email: [email protected]


Facebook:  rosaliesawriefornorthcowichan 

Facebook campaign video:

Instagram: rosaliesawrie

Twitter: @rosalie09s


Rob Douglas – Incumbent

Describe yourself and your experience.

I was born and raised in North Cowichan, and live here with my wife and two children. I work as a government policy director, and was previously employed as a forestry, pulp mill and construction worker, and also as a newspaper columnist. I have a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Victoria, and have been an active volunteer in the Cowichan Valley, serving on the Boards of Directors for the Cowichan Land Trust, Volunteer Cowichan, and Cowichan Co-op Connections. I was elected to Council in 2014 and previously served on the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board.


Why did you decide to run for a seat at the council table?

North Cowichan is one of the best places you could live in Canada. However, we face real challenges from a lack of affordable housing and a growing homelessness problem, to climate change and the loss of greenspace, to continuous increases in our property taxes and the cost of living. I hope to continue serving on Council so that we can work together to address these major issues facing our community and to build a better future for everyone.


What do you think are the most important issues in North Cowichan?

Lack of affordable housing, environmental protection, maintaining our rural character, fiscal responsibility, and empowering citizens and neighbourhoods.


Do you live in North Cowichan?

Yes. I was born and raised in North Cowichan and have lived here my whole life. 


Do you have a website or Facebook page where people can get more information about you and what is it?


Faceook: Rob Douglas – North Cowichan Councillor



The following candidates have not responded to our request for information:

Christopher Justice
Peter W. Rusland
Marilyn Palmer