There were several notable absences at the Qualicum Beach Residents Association all-candidates meeting on Sept. 25.
Mayor Brian Wiese, running for re-election in the Oct. 15 municipal election, did not attend the event, held at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.
According to a letter by Wiese’s campaign chair, Mary Brouilette, Wiese did not participate due to concern over a perceived lack of transparency and fairness.
Coun. Robert Filmer was not able to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Coun. Scott Harrison and council candidate Dave Willie were also absent from the forum.
Teunis Westbroek, current councillor and mayoralty candidate, answered six questions by moderator Mary Ellen Campbell.
The topics included previous mayor experience, creating a cohesive council, local climate change mitigation, the role of the town’s official community plan (OCP), attracting doctors to the community and ballot questions about council size and whether the town should help with the costs associated with restoring St. Andrews Lodge.
Questions submitted from the audience were also posed to the mayoral candidate. Residents asked about the plan for the town’s skate park, the possibility of reinstating Oceanside Air to the town-owned airport, accountability and disclosure in council financial decision-making, ensuring a good water supply, environmentally-friendly development, overnight camping at the waterfront, environmental impact assessments, attracting young families to the town and housing.
Council candidates Stanley Beech, Peter Kent, Doreen MacKay-Dunn, John C. Phillips, Anne Skipsey (incumbent), Petronella Vander Valk and Jean Young were on hand to introduce themselves to the audience. Council candidates did not answer questions from the moderator or the audience.
Residents still have two more chances to hear from Qualicum Beach mayor and council candidates.
The Eaglecrest Residents’ Association’s (ERA) all-candidates meeting will go ahead Sept. 27, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the civic centre (747 Jones St).
An all-candidates meeting by the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 3, also at the civic centre.
— NEWS Staff