Incumbent mayor for the Town of Qualicum Beach, Teunis Westbroek, and current town councillor Anne Skipsey are both planning to run for mayor in the October municipal election.
Westbroek, who has served as Qualicum Beach’s mayor for 19 years, said he’s running again, simply because he loves the job and serving the needs of his town’s residents.
Westbroek said he wants to continue checking off projects from the town’s strategic plan and persist with council’s “strong financial position” in completing plans.
“A lot of good things are going on within our budget,” Westbroek said. “All the things that we’re doing, we don’t have to borrow money for. I would like to maintain a strong financial position and protect our unique character of the town.”
Westbroek said he wants to continue developing Qualicum Beach’s waterfront and that improvements are coming to Memorial Avenue.
“We’re going to have a roundabout there and huge improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and for traffic safety,” he said.
During his almost two decades as mayor, Westbroek said he’s most proud of addressing the needs of residents.
“Years ago there was a couple living in town and the wife was having some medical issues and the husband was having some other medical issues. They both needed to go to some type of facility but they couldn’t be in the same facility because of the different level of needs,” he said.
Westbroek said he rallied for the couple, and more like them, and found a company who built the Gardens at Qualicum Beach.
“On the top floor you can live completely independently… but if your spouse needed care you can be on a different floor, if you needed assistant living you could be there,” Westbroek said. “There’s about 220 units that were filled in a heart beat for people with all different levels of needs. If their spouse had different needs than them, or one or the other needed more care, they could still be accommodated in the same building, and that I thought was a great thing for Qualicum Beach to have.”
An achievement Westbroek is proud of is continually working towards meeting the housing needs of families who may not have a high income.
“We own land at the airport, an eight-acre parcel and a five-acre parcel. I asked council if they would agree if we would include it in the urban containment boundary which they agreed to and we got it done in the Official Community Plan (OCP),” he said.
The eight-acre parcel of land will be used to accommodate tiny lots, for small homes.
WestBroek says he is running on his record of protecting Qualicum Beach’s small town feeling through modest growth, working to establish ‘East Qualicum Beach village and the former ‘Bus Garage’ sites into award-winning developments with a combination of a diversity of housing including rentals, public spaces, brew pubs, technology and cultural facilities.
The purchase of the Saint Andrew’s Lodge & Glen Cottages, the removal of house at the end of the Sea wall walk, the redevelopment of the Brant Viewing Area and the restoration of Beach Creek estuary and the construction of a new Sand Pebbles Hotel, are some of works in progress that he says will help improve and protect the Qualicum Beach waterfront.
Westbroek plans to use the five-acre parcel, near Arrowview Elementary School on Bennett Road, for another housing complex for families.
“Council agrees that would be a good use for the properties and would help a lot of the families who want to work here but have a tough time finding a place to live,” he said.
In addition to housing, Westbroek is passionate about the many volunteer groups in Qualicum Beach and the partnerships the town has with them.
“I love working with the volunteers on the wonderful facets of Qualicum Beach life,” he said. “The best thing we can do as a council, as a town, is work with volunteers.”
Anne Skipsey announced her plans to run for mayor at a regular town council meeting on July 16.
“After numerous chats with you mayor Westbroek over the past four years, including some recent conversations, and after much consideration I have decided that I will be asking for citizens’ support to elect me as the next mayor of Qualicum Beach during the election this fall,” Skipsey said.
Skipsey, who was elected to council four years ago, sees the opportunity to run for mayor as a chance to make a positive contribution to the town.
“I think with my collaborative leadership style and background in policy and process I can see opportunities where the town can continue to be more open and transparent and that our decisions are well-informed
and that we communicate effectively with our citizens,” Skipsey said.
Skipsey’s family moved to Qualicum Beach when she was six months old. After high school, she moved away to finish her post-secondary education and got a job with the City of Burnaby where she worked for more than 10 years with the mayor and council as a deputy corporate administrator.
Skipsey moved back to Qualicum Beach when her son was ready to start kindergarten.
Going forward, she’s passionate about focusing on goals laid out in the Official Community Plan (OCP) and housing needs in the community.
“I had put forward a motion at one time to strike a housing task force and I think that was also a recommendation in the OCP,” she said. “I would like to see that happen sooner rather than later.”
Skipsey wants to continue to build community and work to enhance the well being of citizens.
“Another thing that’s near and dear to me is building the relationship and respect with our local First Nations,” she said. “We’re really lucky here in Qualicum Beach because we have a really engaged community. Our citizens turn out to vote and are very happy to provide us with input. I think we have to ensure our citizens’ input is valued and important to us.”
Skipsey wants to continue down the town’s path of careful planning and be a collaborative leader to make a positive impact with the next council, public servants and citizens.