Parksville residents will get a chance to hear, and question, the people seeking a seat on city council at an all-candidates meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The byelection for the city councillor position vacated in the summer by Al Greir takes place Oct. 22. The all-candidates meeting is scheduled for Oct. 5 at Ballenas Secondary School’s Whalebone Theatre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is limited. The event is free to attend, and people are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank (the food bank says canned meat, peanut butter and pasta sauce are some of the items that would be appreciated).
The candidates running for the council seat are Kim Burden, Rick Honaizer, Doug O’Brien, Carrie Powell-Davidson and Paul Reitsma. Four of the five candidates (all except Honaizer) have confirmed they will attend.
The NEWS, with the help of School District 69, has put this event together. NEWS editor John Harding will be the moderator.
The format for tomorrow night’s forum will include opening and closing statements from the candidates, with questions from NEWS readers and the audience between the statements. If you have a question you would like to see Harding pose to the candidates, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The byelection is set for Saturday, Oct. 22. Voting that day will be from
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church on Pym Street. Advance voting is also available Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre from 8 a.m. to
8 p.m. both days.
Editor’s note: we asked the candidates to submit 200 words about who they are and why they are running for office. Their responses are below.
During my long time involvement with a variety of groups in Parksville I have gained an understanding of the complexities of city government, including its capabilities and limitations.
There are many issues that will come before us in the next two years. They include transportation and housing issues and of great import the attraction of family doctors.
We need to strengthen our community foundations to bring more jobs to Parksville; jobs that can support the young families who will be the future of Parksville.
The city has a responsibility to manage the taxpayer-funded infrastructure of roads, sewer, water and parks; something that they do well and with a solid economic development plan will continue to be able to fund and maintain. The city also has a responsibility to ensure that those who do not enjoy the benefits that come from regular work, comfortable housing and excellent physical and mental health are provided opportunities to achieve their goals. Attainable housing and improving public transportation are two areas that desperately need to be addressed.
I believe that the foundation of any thriving community should include education, the arts, shopping and recreation. If we want to attract strong companies to the area with better jobs, we must work to enhance and expand these categories.
Thank you for this opportunity to let the voters know where I stand on the important issues facing Parksville. When I am elected, I will never vote to increase taxes, so there will be one person with alternatives to raising taxes. I will fight to preserve the natural beauty of our bay. I will work with developers to build a downtown that will serve our community, keeping our view of the bay. Let the voters learn the truth about our water. Bring in new business that will add to the style of life we enjoy in Parksville. We will grow the way that will ensure we are sustainable so we will not need tax increases.
My name is Doug O’Brien and I am requesting your vote for councillor in the Parksville byelection. If elected, these are some of the issues I will pursue.
•Lower property taxes, the proposed four per cent increase for each of the next four years is an unsustainable hardship for many residents.
• As “your” elected representative, I will listen to your concerns and suggestions and present to council for debate.
• I will reply to your emails and phone calls personally in a timely manner and strive to accommodate the taxpayers requests instead of manufacturing reasons to deny.
• Create safer sidewalks and ‘pedestrianization’ of our downtown and Highway 19A with pedestrian-activated crosswalks.
• Revitalize the downtown, with LED lightscaping and a town square with public washrooms.
• Eliminate excuses and delays, to enable the building of all-access trails/bikeways.
• Reduce the amount of in-camera secret meetings.
• Communicate effectively and respectfully with all citizens regarding pending city projects in a transparent manner.
• Address local issues such as roads, sidewalks and development proposals that will benefit the citizens of Parksville.
Respect is earned by providing strong leadership. I will not disappoint you.
Former Councillor, Carrie Powell-Davidson is one of five candidates running for the vacant seat in next month’s by-election. Who is she and why is she running?
My husband and I have lived in Parksville for 23 years. We raised our children here and we are very engaged in this community.
I am not retired but I have resigned from my career as a program co-ordinator to run in this year’s byelection. I have the time and the drive to dedicate to my council work.
I am running in this by-election because Parksville needs an experienced councillor to fill the vacant seat. The next couple of years in our city are pivotal as we face large projects, continued downloading and population growth. Now is not the time to take a chance on an inexperienced addition to the team.
This is a two year term. That means that the new councillor does not have the usual one to two years it typically takes to learn the ropes. I served on council from 2008-2014 so I already know the job and the issues. I can hit the ground running.
Parksville needs a councillor with fiscal experience as we face infrastructure repairs and replacement and begin work on our Parks Master Plan.
We need someone with the ability to work with other levels of government to move forward on our housing issues and our new water treatment plant.
Former mayor (1987-96) Paul Reitsma’s platform emphasizes six main points:
• a return to basics.
• controlled slow growth.
• need to prepare for the biggest challenge of all: major infrastructure requirements.
• openness/transparency, elimination of unnecessary secret meetings.
• taxation policies based on what we need, not want.
• economic diversity.
He stresses the need to meet with owners of vacant commercial lots/ buildings with the objective of having them developed or occupied.
Taxpayers expect roads to be paved, potholes filled, snow plowed, make sure we have enough clean drinking water, proper sewage disposal facilities, safe streets and sufficient policing.
Reitsma, an unapologetic endorser of local business, points out local business means local employment and sponsoring of local organisations.
He has been a local small business owner/operator for more than 35 years in the hospitality/travel industry. A long history of community involvement includes a chamber of commerce vice president, union member, served on three Parent’s Advisory Committees, board member Trillium Lodge.
Reitsma, known for his thorough research and relentless search for facts, is an outsider who will bring an independent voice to council. His aversion to rubber-stamping reports is well known. He is not afraid to debate.