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.”

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach ‘Seniors Scene’ columnist remembered

Roy Jones described as caring father, energetic seniors’ centre member

Councillor has concerns about Qualicum Beach pot shop decision

Debate over location, public consultation and timing continues, though commitment already made

Oceanside RCMP arrest man wanted on several outstanding warrants

Hudson David Klassen, 26, picked up in Parksville

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read