EDITORIAL: crowded ballot in Parksville

Four people are running for mayor and 15 people are seeking six council seats in Parksville

All the races for seats on councils and boards this fall have their flair and interesting side stories.

In this space today we focus on the contests for mayor and councillor for the City of Parksville because it may be the most intriguing of all, and not only because it is this region’s largest municipality and only city.

The school board races aside (that’s another story for a future edition), there are familiar faces trying to retain their seats. In the four areas we cover in the regional district, three incumbents are running. In Qualicum Beach, the mayor and three of four current councillors have filed their papers. We expected Coun. Scott Tanner was also going to run, but he had not filed his papers by time of this writing (Thursday afternoon). Tanner is battling some health issues and regardless of what he decides about his candidacy, we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

The races for mayor and council in Parksville are an entirely different kettle of fish.

Only two incumbents, Al Greir and Sue Powell, are seeking a seat, which means there will be at least four new members of council. There will be a new mayor too, after the popular, sharp and talented Chris Burger decided not to run for family and business reasons.

‘New’ might not be the most accurate word to describe who is going to fill these Parksville seats. In the mayor’s race, all four people who have filed their papers have appeared on ballots and/or served on council in Parksville previously. Two, Marc Lefebvre and Bill Neufeld, are current councillors, while Antonio Farinha and Dallas Collis have sought public office here in the past.

As far as the council race goes, a former mayor, Paul Reitsma, is in the mix, as are former councillors Teresa Patterson and Caroline Waters.

Voters will have to decide whether experience, at some level, is important, or if this council needs fresh faces. While it may be tempting to suggest municipal government experience will be important as Parksville faces some tough issues like the new water system, it can be argued rather successfully that a newcomer with a reasonable amount of intelligence can get up to speed quickly with the help of city staff.

— Editorial by John Harding