Field wide open in Qualicum Beach

Possible withdrawal of three incumbents means new faces at the Qualicum Beach council table next year

When municipal election season rolls around in November, Qualicum Beach voters can expect to see Teunis Westbroek’s name on the ballot, along with that of Mary Brouilette — but they won’t be vying for the same job.

However, the other three spots around the council table will likely be filled with new faces after three of the councillor incumbents  — Barry Avis, Jack Wilson and Kent Becker — announced their intention to at least potentially give it a miss.

Westbroek confirmed this week he plans to run for a fifth term as mayor.

“One of the things that really excites me is getting involved in the redevelopment of the school bus garage after several decades of the town trying to get that property,” he said. “I think it dovetails nicely with the arts and culture master plan.”

He also cited the ongoing struggle to keep Kwalikum Secondary School open as a key priority in the next term.

Westbroek cited the renewal of the cemetery cenotaph, revitalization of the Community Hall, the retention of the Eaglecrest Golf Course as an 18-hole facility, increased beach and trail patrols, completion of the Dollymount trail, the setting up of a ferry bus, support for the farmers market, community garden, passage of the official community plan, movement towards electric vehicles and the completion of the Berwick reservoir, the initiative to  and getting a new agreement with the Arrowsmith Water System as key accomplishments of council in the current term.

Mary Brouilette said she intends to seek a second term at the council table.

“I think they need me,” Brouilette said. “I think I represent a balance to council, so yes, I am going to run as a councillor.”

Brouilette said one of the reasons she is putting her name forward for a second term is because she has a number of projects she would like to see through to completion.

“In particular, things like the arts and culture master plan and seeing the high school saved. I want to take part in that process,” she said. “I also think there is an opportunity for other opinions with regard to attracting younger families in our area. That’s going to be a really big thing. I think the sustainability of our community is the main issue.”

One key to sustainability, she added, is ensuring Qualicum Beach workers have access to an appropriate transportation system that allows them to access their jobs from their homes in less expensive areas in places such as Coombs, Qualicum Bay or Errington.

If she is successful, this will be the second term at the council table for Brouilette.

Longtime councillor Jack Wilson announced last week his intention to hang up his political hat, stressing in an interview that he was tired after three terms on council, noting he often found himself frustrated at being in the minority position.

“I’ve become a firm believer in term limits,” he said.

Kent Becker meanwhile also confirmed he doesn’t plan to seek anther term as a councillor.

Although this was Becker’s first term as a councillor in Qualicum Beach, he had previously served for many years in his former home in Coquitlam.

Becker said he feels he has done his part for municipal politics and now wants  to spend some quality time travelling with his wife.

“I don’t think I am going to run,” he said. “I am looking at my age — I’m 67-years-old — and I’ve spent 18 years in the municipal arena on both sides of the water. I’m looking at taking some trips in our camper van to explore North America while we still can.”

Becker said he has no regrets about his term on council and said he was proud of the many accomplishments they have been able to do.