The B.C. Green Party has nominated businessman and retired naval officer Rob Lyon as candidate for Parksville-Qualicum. He said he decided to get involved in politics after the B.C. NDP called an election during a global pandemic. Lyon said he initially called the Green Party campaign office to sign up as a volunteer.
“They asked me to run in the Parksville Qualicum riding and I decided the night before that if that was an open riding, then I would run,” said Lyon, who lives in Cobble Hill, where he runs a construction business focused on building energy-efficient, sustainable houses.
He said he felt the Green Party reflects many of his views as a conservative, such as environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility. Lyon said he is passionate about looking after the environment and teaching others how to preserve and appreciate it. He served as a scout master and took hundreds of youths on hikes, canoe trips and wilderness camps over 25 years.
“[The environmentally conscious] part of my conservative background was pushed to the side because I was doing that part myself. I didn’t need a government or a party to represent that,” said Lyon. “I realized that I’m greener than I am blue or red.”
Old-growth forests on Vancouver Island and across B.C. have not been protected adequately by previous provincial governments, according to Lyon. He said other parties make statements about protecting the environment, but fail to follow through with legislation to protect threatened ecosystems.
“They’re the last of a species so to speak. We can’t get them back for 400 years,” he said, regarding old-growth forests.
Lyon said living sustainably is important to him, so when he began thinking about retirement he decided to build a ‘passive house.’ These buildings consume up to 90 per cent less heating and cooling energy, according to Passive House Canada. Lyon said he decided to start his own passive house construction company and after completing the certification, he built his first passive home earlier this year.
“I wanted to be as close to off-grid as I could and be sustainable, so we are doing our part,” he said.
Lyon said the B.C. Energy Step Code is “going in the right direction” in terms of efficiency, but needs to be reformed because the steps are too gradual. The building code aims for new homes to incrementally move towards being “net zero ready” by 2032.
“I would be pushing as an advocate to upgrade our building code. One — so that it doesn’t take until 2032 to go into effect and two — so that it meets a higher standard than what we’re asking for,” he said.
Lyon is running against B.C. Liberal incumbent Michelle Stilwell, B.C. NDP candidate Adam Walker, Conservative candidate Don Purdey and Independent candidate John St. John.