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Leanne Salter to vie for RDN Area F position

Leanne Salter, NDP candidate for the Parksville-Qualicum riding in the last provincial election, is joining the race for the Regional District of Nanaimo Area F director’s seat in November’s municipal election.

Salter, a resident of Errington for 43 years, said the area needs to be represented by someone who listens and who will advocate for the residents.

“I think it’s important to create a tangible method to address issues rather than just advocating for them,” she added, highlighting her work on various projects.

She said she’s proud of the men’s transitional house that opened over the weekend, which she helped create as a Nanaimo Transitional Housing Society board member.

She also had a role in developing the Nanaimo Community Dental Clinic and is working on a number of other projects such as a women’s transitional house and a dental clinic in Port Alberni.

She’s running for the seat being vacated by Lou Biggemann because, “I was asked to run by several people and given that Lou’s stepping down it seemed appropriate.”

She said a big issue facing the large diverse area is water, which is being damaged by poorly planned development and things like logging helicopters landing in waterways.

An organic farmer, Salter is not against development, she said, “but when you allow over-development there’s more strain on the system.”

“There’s a lot of independent people in Errington, Whiskey Creek and Coombs, and they live out there to be independent,” she said, indicating there has to be more community engagement with those people on regional district issues.

Another key issue for her is all the locked gates at forest access points.

“That’s provincial forest and there are a lot of people who like to ride horses or take their pets out there but they can’t because offshore logging companies.”

Salter added there is a need to develop a “real urgent health centre.” This would be a few years off, she admitted, but said she believes the only way for the community to get what it needs when there are no government funds available, is through a grass roots effort.

“If we want to address the issues affecting the community we must do it ourselves,” she concluded.

Two others have declared their candidacy for the seat, 34-year-old Skye Donald and Richard de Candole.

The deadline to file papers is October 14.

The first advance poll is November 9, with the election on Nov. 19. If you are planning to run for any office in the coming election contact The News at editor@pqbnews.com or 250-248-2545, ext. 215.

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