After the mayoral candidates took to the Tidemark Theatre stage Monday, Sept. 26, it was the third of the city councillor candidates to have their turn.
After the first debate on Sept. 21, the second group of candidates engaged in a debate Sept. 26 Then on Sept. 29, the third and final group of councillors debated (minus candidate Claire Moglove who couldn’t make any of the debates due to illness). In the third debate were candidates Ken Blackburn, Ben Lanyon and Sue Moen. Among other things, the candidates were asked what their top three priorities would be and which would they start with. Their answers are…
I feel that the absolute top priority is creating a very strong respect and trust working relationship with staff in City Hall. For anybody that has their ear to the ground in the community and working across a number of sectors, the relationship has gone rather toxic and it has led a lot of very good professionals to not want to continue in in Campbell River which
is kind of unbelievable because the world wants to come here. This is an incredible community but I don’t feel the past council has done a good job at all with the relationship with staff and staff are your key strengths in a community. That’s my number one priority. Number two is to convene roundtables with all of my networks in social services but also with downtown businesses to come up with steps moving forward with our downtown challenges and an action plan and I feel
that this will really start at a micro level and we start looking at small incremental changes that are emerging through the work that we’re doing now. And I think in number three, it’s obviously housing. Affordable housing is not just a Campbell River crisis but it’s across the country. I want to listen to developers and I want to listen to planners and see where the problem is and what we can get done.
Top priority for me is figuring out downtown and and generally the lawlessness that we’ve seen; start there and then start to spread into other other parts of the community. Number two is housing availability for all income levels and to me those are almost on par with each other in terms of priority. And third, I would say I’m interested in in the upcoming tax increase and I don’t have access to all the information but I’m very interested to have a look at all that and see, you know, what we can do to make that a one-time thing or or reduce the impact of of what could be as much as like an eight to 10 per cent tax increase. um the the downtown thing is a real passion for me because I have an office and a property down there and I have staff who I love who are actually in danger some days, so for me that’s the main reason why I decided to run. I don’t think I would have run if if there wasn’t that particular issue involved as well.
My first priority would be team building and developing a strategic plan and priorities that include staff and creates a culture of working together. I’m about consensus not homogeneity
and I think that there are things that we need to do not just in looking at the
next five years but for the next 50 to 100 years. We need to create a vision of where we want to go or we can’t plan the actions to get there and we certainly can’t budget for it. Then we need policies and procedures to measure our progress and the impacts that we’re having. Housing is the reason that I am sitting at this table. The lack of it and the lack of empathy and compassion for the people who are struggling, who are experiencing homelessness and that the lack of recognition that so many people are on the verge of living in their cars, sleeping on a neighbor’s couch or living on the streets. There are a lot of things the city can do to address that and I would want to do many of them urgently and I would also like to enter into discussions with the local First Nations to create and fund an indigenous relations department to improve our relationships with them.
To see the rest of the debate, check out the video recording of the third council candidates debate:
The first city councillor debate
The second city councillor debate
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