The only all-candidates forum of the upcoming municipal by-election took place online last night, giving the candidates for the open seat on Campbell River city council another chance – outside the ongoing election coverage by the Mirror – to pitch their case to the community.
Hosted by the Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce and the Tidemark Theatre, the forum was held via Zoom for COVID-19 safety and hosted by chamber executive director Mary Ruth Snyder.
The night opened with the eight candidates introducing themselves before answering three questions based on topics that were determined and distributed prior to the event: climate change, the economic impact of the federal decision to remove fish farms from coastal waters and housing accessibility and affordability in the community.
The candidates were then given a surprise visit by former city councilor Michele Babchuk – who the winner will replace on council – who asked about their top priorities and how they plan to get them addressed should they be elected.
During the second part of the evening, each candidate was given the opportunity to ask another candidate one question. The topics were wide ranging, from how Ken Blackburn will avoid conflicts of interest if elected, as he works with both the Museum at Campbell River and the Campbell River Arts Council, to what changes Sean Smyth would like to see at the airport, as he sat on the Airport Authority for eight years, to how Devon Garat sees “leadership,” as he is involved in both Rotary and Scouts Canada.
The Mirror was collecting audience questions submitted on the Facebook live stream of the event during these first two sections – as was the Tidemark Theatre – to ask the candidates for the third section of the evening.
Each candidate was then given time for closing remarks.
You can watch the entire forum below, and watch for more from the candidates in the pages of the Mirror – and online at campbellrivermirror.com – between now and Feb. 27, when the community will decide who it wants to fill the open seat on council.