Kim Burden says his first priority, if elected to Parksville city council in the byelection Saturday, will be to get something happening on a high-profile parcel of land with boarded-up buildings that has sat dormant for years.
“Let’s be bold,” said Burden. “I want to see the Parksville Beach Resort reach its full potential. I believe that the right developer can develop and market that property within the current zoning which allows a variety of commercial uses and some residential. Managing this development application properly will also send a clear message that we are open for business.”
The NEWS asked all five of the byelection candidates what their first priority would be if elected in Saturday’s byelection. Burden, Rick Honaizer, Doug O’Brien, Carrie Powell-Davidson and Paul Reitsma are seeking the council seat.
Powell-Davidson said her first priority would relate to housing.
“With a rental rate of zero, we’re on the edge of a crisis,” said Powell-Davidson. “Something needs to be done in order for us to continue to attract a workforce while ensuring safe and secure housing for all Parksville residents. I will be asking staff to prepare a report on what options are available now for homeowners to increase Parksville’s rental housing. For example, carriage houses, rental suites and rooms to let.”
O’Brien said his first priority would be to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Highway 19A. “Every day I witness near misses and accidents from pedestrians and cyclists crossing the highway to access a business or service on the other side,” said O’Brien.
“It is only a case of luck thus far that a fatality has not occurred. My first priority would be to set into motion the installation of pedestrian-activated crosswalk flashing LED lighting systems throughout Parksville and as priority, crossing Highway 19A.”
Reitsma said his first priority would be to “introduce and table a notice of motion to reaffirm in-camera (secret) meetings must only be used for: (a) legal matters; (b) matters pertaining to the acquisition/disposal of municipal real estate; and (c) personnel matters. This will eliminate unnecessary behind-closed-doors meetings and the unnecessary fuelling of suspicion.”
Honaizer said tax rates are his first priority.
“l will ask the council to review the tax increase and find alternatives to the increase,” said Honazier. “We can stop the increases in taxes. I believe the people who live in Parksville can live without tax increases. There are so many ways we can have cake and eat, too. You just have to work for it.”
Parksville residents can vote Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church at 550 Pym Street. The council seat became vacant after the resignation of Al Greir in the summer. There is also an advance poll Wednesday (Oct. 19) at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.