School District 69 candidate's forum

School trustee candidates in District 69 (Qualicum) faced a mostly-empty civic center Thursday night. - Steven Heywood
School trustee candidates in District 69 (Qualicum) faced a mostly-empty civic center Thursday night.
— image credit: Steven Heywood

Around 80 people attended a forum for school board candidates in Qualicum Beach on Thursday.

Nine of the 11 candidates  for the five trustee positions attended the public forum in the civic centre's big room, making the audience look empty.

The candidates gave opening and closing statements and about 15 questions where asked from the audience, many answered by each candidate.

A number of the questions and statements revolved around the fears of school closures first sparked by a facilities report introduces a year ago in the same room.

All candidates spoke passionately throughout the evening for the need to keep all the schools and for the board to be more transparent about those kind of decisions.

Throughout the evening the candidates spoke of their backgrounds and depth of experience in the district, ranging from people like Bruce Cownden, the only incumbent, and Barry Kurland who taught in the district for decades from 1973 to Willow Bloomquist.

"Please don't discount my youth, I can totally do this," plead Bloomquist who attended Kwalikum Secondary and, at 31, is the youngest candidate.

A team of candidates from the Oceanside Communities for Quality Education (OCQE) spoke well of the group and their fellow candidates.

"I'm proud of the OCQE group," said Lynnette Kershaw who highlighted successes the group that was formed in response to school closure fears, including being recognized by Premier Christie Clark, organizing a forum and meeting with the minister of education.

Of the candidates who didn't attend, incumbent Bill Preston sent his regrets that he was out of town. Incumbent Eve Flynn later told The News she didn't receive her invitation.

- For more check out Tuesday's edition of The News.

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