Incumbent RDN director Bill Veenhof was the only candidate to attend Saturday’s all-candidate forum.

ELECTION: Another one-man forum in Bowser/Deep Bay

Only the incumbent showed up for this event; he skipped the other debate

Out of two all-candidates forums in Deep Bay/Bowser, zero were able to get all the candidates in one room.

The civic election is slated for Saturday and two people are running for the Regional District of Nanaimo director position.

On Nov. 4, the Mapleguard Ratepayers’ Association hosted a forum inviting incumbent director Bill Veenhof and newcomer candidate Donald Mussell. But Veenhof declined the invitation stating he believes the MRA is a “non-neutral” organization.

On Nov. 8 the Lighthouse Country Business Association hosted a second forum, again inviting both RDN candidates. However, this time Mussell did not show up making it another one-man show.

Asked why he didn’t attend, Mussell told The NEWS Saturday afternoon “it was kind of insulting to my intelligence.”

Mussell said the list of questions he received prior to Saturday’s forum from the LCBA “seemed irrelevant” to the issues he believes are facing the community.

The NEWS obtained the list which included questions about signage and billboards, access to high speed internet in Spider Lake, the decline of volunteerism and job creation.

Mussell said he would have preferred to see questions about the seaweed harvest, medical marijuana, transit and affordable housing — issues which were all brought up at Saturday’s forum by residents in the audience.

Veenhof said he didn’t think the attendance pattern at the all-candidates debates signaled a polarized community, but “polarized voices in the community.”

As Veenhof was the only candidate at Saturday’s meeting, it was more informative than argumentative.

The incumbent answered questions from moderator Chris Jiggins and took questions from the audience of approximately 50 residents at the Lighthouse Community Hall.

Veenhof said road signage has been a “thorny” issue with the Ministry of Transportation. He said he would look into what the regional district can do in terms of “relaxing bylaws to reflect the needs of our community.”

He promised to go after federal infrastructure funding to address the lack of quality internet connections in Spider Lake, which he said have “economic consequences” for businesses in the area.

In terms of job creation, Veenhof said he would continue to support promoting and protecting the shellfish industry.

Asked about sending a letter to Health Canada regarding medical marijuana, he said “the challenge I have is that if I convene a meeting and write a letter (to Health Canada), well the point is the letter won’t change a thing so all I would be doing is lying to you.”

Veenhof said the seaweed harvest “consumed” his first term in office but he’s pleased the Ministry of Agriculture is supporting a research study conducted by the VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station — something he helped move forward. Asked if he would change the official community plan, Veenhof said “no, we (the community) will.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jennifer Bate, executive director of Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: A chat with Jennifer Bate of Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre

Podcast: Discussion includes COVID-19 issues, singing in a rock band and more

(File photo)
Crime report: PQB thieves pilfer licence plates, televisions

Oceanside RCMP received a total of 308 complaints in one-week period

VIU Mariners coach Larry Stefanek. (Black Press File Photo)
Parksville soccer coach Stefanek earns special national certification

VIU Mariners head coach one of 30 in Canada to complete program

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

A screenshot from the virtual all-candidates meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. (SCREENSHOT)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Mid Island-Pacific Rim candidates weigh in on forestry, tourism, LNG

For the first time ever, Alberni Valley Chamber hosted a virtual all-candidates’ meeting

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read