Mayoral candidate Bill Neufeld

Mayoral candidate Bill Neufeld

PARKSVILLE ELECTION: First forum produces few fireworks

'We don't need as big a (water) plant as being suggested' — mayoral candidate Bill Neufeld

The fate of the city’s plan to build a water treatment plant was the hot topic Thursday at the first all-candidates forum of the election season in Parksville.

Three of the four candidates for mayor and 11 of the 13 people who wish to fill council seats after the Nov. 15 municipal election were in attendance for the forum sponsored by the Oceanside Development and Construction Association (ODCA).

They almost outnumbered the gallery, which had about 20 people. The ODCA restricted attendance to members of their association and the media.

Each candidate was given a few minutes to speak and then they were each given an opportunity to answer the following question from moderator and ODCA president Duane Round: what is your plan to pay/finance the new water treatment plant?

With a deadline from Island Health to treat all surface water looming, the Englishman River Water Service had developed a $37 million intake and aquifer storage plan (Parksville’s part of the bill would have been about $27 million). However, without any commitments for funding help from senior levels of government, the plan is up in the air and will have to be sorted out by the new city council.

There were little fireworks in the forum on Thursday afternoon. Some candidates, considering their hosts, chose to speak about development issues. Here’s a look at some of the comments made by candidates in their opening speeches and/or in answer to the water-plant question:

Heidi Abbott (candidate for council): “I appreciate your organization (ODCA) can help shape the future of our community.”

Mary Beil (council): said development cost charges “seem quite high” in Parksville and she recognized the construction sector “provides employment for a somewhat younger demographic.”

Dallas Collis (candidate for mayor): chose to speak about global warming, “the number one issue for all of our lives. Our entire lifestyles will have to change.” He also said the city and ERWS should be looking at drawing water from above the Englishman River Falls because it would require much less treatment.

Michael Donigan (council): “There’s a disconnect between city council, the newspapers and the general public” on the water treatment plant issue. He also said he would like to have discussions about ideas like making Parksville’s industrial area a DCC-free zone.

Jim Gordon (council): “I’m not pushing any agenda,” he said. “It (the city) is looking good. Let’s keep that ball rolling.”

Al Greir (council): “We can do it (the treatment plant) cheaper,” he said. “There never has been a Plan B. A review is needed by some fresh eyes.”

Rick Honaizer (council): “City hall has been in the way of contractors who come to town,” he said. “I will fight for the building trades.”

Marc Lefebvre (mayor): Outlined his priorities, which include the water treatment plant, maintaining fiscal discipline and “focussing on the fundamentals.” He said he would seek an extension from Island Health on water treatment but “the simple answer is we’ll have to face it.”

Bill Neufeld (mayor): “We have to have more things done by the city to improve the downtown ambiance,” he said. As for the proposed $37 million water treatment plant: “We don’t need as big a plant as is being suggested.”

Kirk Oates (council): “Development does not have to (create) conflict or be mysterious or misunderstood.” He called for full public engagement on the water treatment plant issue.

Teresa Patterson (council): “I grew up knowing how to read a blueprint,” she said. “I understand DCCs and I wonder if we don’t have options with them, like not paying all up front but having them paid over time.”

Roy Plotniko (council): He questionned why taxes and water rates continued to rise in the city during this time of such low inflation. “I believe taxpayers of Parksville don;t want four more years of this.” As for the water plant, he said “If the money is not there for us thee is only one thing to do: build something smaller.”

Leanne Salter (council): Made reference to what she believes is a “bureacratic and costly permitting process” at city hall. She dubbed the $37 million water treatment proposal a “crazy plan.”

Caroline Waters: “The DCCs in Parksville are higher than they are in the RDN and that’s contributing to sprawl and taking business away from Parksville,” she said. As for the water treatment facility, she pointed to the importance of water storage.

The Parskville and District Chamber of Commerce and

The NEWS are sponsoring a forum on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

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

Just Posted

Ongoing construction at the intersection of Highway 19 and Highway 4, just outside of Qualicum Beach. (Steve Weldon photo)
New stop lights to be installed where Inland Island Highway meets Alberni Highway

Drivers can expect lane closures during constructions hours

Erin Haluschak visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Erin Haluschak talks missing persons on Vancouver Island, women in media

Podcast: Black Press reporter also talks about importance of women in the media

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read