IVINS – Washington County Commission candidate Paul Van Dam believes the county is on the verge of a great leap in the next five years, and he would like to spend the next four making sure the county has a plan for it.
Van Dam is running for Commission Seat B on the Democratic ticket and has said his experience serving as the Salt Lake County District Attorney and later as the Utah Attorney General, from 1989-92, has prepared him to serve on the County Commission.
“I can be useful to the people of the county,” Van Dam said during a brief introduction to the St. George City Council Thursday.
Van Dam said he will promote the principles of Vision Dixie in the continued growth and development of the county while also maintaining the quality of life people enjoy.
“We should build up and not out,” he said.
Van Dam is opposed to the Lake Powell Pipeline. The potential costs of the pipeline are far greater than the people are being led to believe, he said.
St. George News caught up with the commission candidate at his home in Ivins and asked him more about the issues he sees facing the county and how he may address them if elected.
The Vision Dixie plan promotes a balanced approach to growth and infrastructure while also protecting the county’s signature landscape. Van Dam said he believes facets of Vision Dixie have been either forgotten or ignored by public officials.
Among the principles promoted by Vision Dixie is that of directing growth inward rather than outward “so we don’t have houses from border to border,” Van Dam said. Building “outward” will create sprawl, something that Vision Dixie was created to help avoid, he said.
“I’m for smart, considered growth,” he said. “I am certainly against unconsidered growth.”
A way Van Dam proposes to help the county and its municipalities better implement Vision Dixie is by creating a uniformity of laws and infrastructure that promotes the plan.
“We must have infrastructure and laws attuned to Vision Dixie,” he said.
A growth issue on the minds of many Washington County residents is that of water. The Washington County Water Conservancy District continually touts the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline, while opponents decry it as unnecessary and horrendously expensive.
Van Dam said he doesn’t believe the water district has been forthcoming about the projected costs of the pipeline. WCWCD officials estimate the pipeline will be nearly $1 billion. Van Dam said it may be closer to $4 billion-$5 billion. The added interest over the next 50 years will also amount to tens of millions of dollars annually, he said.
Instead, Van Dam promotes water conservation, which he said tends to be treated like a dirty word in the county.
Working with a Republican County Commission
“There’s a great deal to be done that has little to do with politics,” Van Dam said. If elected, Van Dam could himself be the sole Democrat on the County Commission, or could be in the company of fellow Democrat Chris White who is running for the county’s Commission Seat A.
However, on issues related to public lands, there will likely be a difference of opinion, he said. The Commission and Van Dam’s opponent, Republican candidate Victor Iverson, want to put a highway, often called the Northern Corridor, through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
“That would be something of an area we would have to arm wrestle,” Van Dam said.
For more information on Paul Van Dam and details on his platform, visit his website.
- All St. George News reports related to Election 2014
- Iverson aims to continue as county commissioner, prioritizes economic development
- St. George-Springdale bus route, longer pool season for Hurricane, gain traction – Van Dam addresses council
- Letter to the Editor: Public Officials have a fiduciary responsibility to the public regarding water
- Vision Dixie reports progress, prospects
- Van Dam says experience in law qualifies him as best candidate for County Commission Seat B
- Republican committee selects Iverson to replace Drake
- White aims for County Commission Seat A
- Potential land sale could lead to water park
- Local nonprofit teams up with Patagonia to host Water Workshop
- CIRPAC meeting on conservation, Lake Powell pipeline
- Letter to the Editor: Lake Powell Pipeline a ‘Good Ol’ Boy’ scam, a ‘pipe dream’
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