From left: Mary Ruth Snyder, executive director of the Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce, prepares to question mayoral candidates Michael Calhoun, Charlie Cornfield, Kermit Dahl, Saron Gebresellassi and Larry Samson at the all-candidates debate at the Tidemark Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

From left: Mary Ruth Snyder, executive director of the Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce, prepares to question mayoral candidates Michael Calhoun, Charlie Cornfield, Kermit Dahl, Saron Gebresellassi and Larry Samson at the all-candidates debate at the Tidemark Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

CITY COUNCIL: Mayoral candidates wrestle with complex issues

A common thread in candidates’ responses implied there are no easy solutions

The City of Campbell River is facing complex issues that won’t be easy to resolve.

That’s one common thread that ran through the answers candidates for Mayor of Campbell River gave in the Wednesday, Sept. 21 mayoral all-candidates debate co-hosted by the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce, the Tidemark Theatre and the Campbell River Mirror.

“This is such a really complex issue,” candidate Charlie Cornfield said.

Cornfield was responding to a question from debate moderator Mary Ruth Snyder asking what the candidates would do to encourage a more diversified and affordable housing supply?

Besides Cornfield on the stage of the Tidemark Theatre where all the all-candidate debates are being held, were mayoral candidates Michael Calhoun, Kermit Dahl, Saron Gebresellassi and Larry Samson.

See the YouTube video of the livestream for all the candidates’ full responses to the questions…

Candidate Kermit Dahl saw the housing issue in the same light.

“So, this is a really complex situation,” Dahl said in his answer. “But without any lots available, it’s impossible to get any housing to be built.”

Dahl also had the same response when Snyder asked a two-part question involving, a) what new ideas the candidates would bring to the issue of homelessness and its impact on community safety, given the city’s finite resources, and b) what will the candidates’ approach be in working with the police, justice system, businesses and health officials to improve “this escalating situation?”

“Well as candidate Cornfield already alluded to, this is a very complex situation that needs to be broken down much more than what you’ve done,” Dahl said. “There were two complicated questions in a minute and a half. You’ve got mental health issues, you have homeless issues and you have lawless issues and they need to be dealt with in three different ways.”

Later, candidate Michael Calhoun pitched in on a question about recruiting and retaining family doctors in Campbell River

“This is a complex issue,” Calhoun said, reiterating later, “It’s a very complex issue…”

Calhoun had the same thing to say about protecting and restoring services to the Campbell River Hospital but answered it with some amazing candor.

“This is a very complex issue. I don’t have the information to answer with any credibility,” he said and added that he would research it and get back on it.

Candidate Saron Gebresellassi also recognized the depth of the issue.

“So I agree it’s a complex issue,” she said, but asserted that it’s the kind of file she’s equipped to handle. “It requires the ability to kind of, you know, cut through really complex files.”

The only candidate that didn’t specifically identify the complexity of any issue was Larry Samson but his anwers were given along with all the other candidates. See the Facebook link or the YouTube video on the Chamber of Commerce’s channel.

More debates to come…

The Mayoral debate was the first of the City of Campbell River municipal election all-candidates debates. The next up was the first of three city councillor debates which were divided into three discussions given the number of candidates up for election to city council.

The public is invited to attend in-person or virtually. At the Tidemark Theatre — seating is on a first come first serve basis. You can view the debates LIVE on the Campbell River Mirror Facebook page or the LIVE stream on the Tidemark Theatre website. Or you can view the recording, which will be posted 24 hours after the event on both the Campbell River & District Chamber’s YouTube channel and the Campbell River Mirror Website.

NOTE: The public are invited to send their questions to: exdir@crchamber.ca

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. — debates will be from 7-9 p.m.

The Tuesday, Sept. 20 — Electoral Area Directors debate recording is now available on Campbell River & District Chamber’s YouTube channel https://youtu.be/GBxuGjbWtMc

– Wednesday, Sept. 21 — Mayoral debate

*Recording available Sept. 23 on Campbell River & District Chamber’s YouTube channel

– Thursday, Sept. 22 — Council debate 1

Candidates: Colleen Evans, Tanille Johnston, Mike Davies, Sean Smyth, Susan Sinnott

– Monday, Sept. 26 — Council debate 2

Candidates: Doug Chapman, Sandra Milligan, Gwen Donaldson, Claire Moglove, Ferris Sterling

– Wednesday, Sept. 28 — Council debate 3

Candidates: Ken Blackburn, Ben Lanyon, Sue Moen, Ron Kerr

On Wednesday, Oct. 5 — the SD72 School Trustees debate will be held.


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

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