Candidates civil and in agreement at Nanaimo byelection debate

By Spencer Sterritt
June 27, 2017 - 9:52pm Updated: June 28, 2017 - 6:23am

From left: Brunie Brunie, Sacia Burton, Leon Cake, Kevin Cantelon, Jim Mercier and Alexis Middleton in front of 300 at the second all-candidates debate. Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Though the situation one of them may be entering has been contentious, all the candidates attending Nanaimo's second byelection debate were civil and courteous, often even thanking their peers at the table.

Eleven candidates talked for more than an hour to roughly 300 people at the Beban Park Social Centre Tuesday night, in the event hosted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. Two couldn't attend - Kelly Whiteside due to a scheduling conflict and Neil Saunders, who Chamber CEO Kim Smythe described as “missing in action.”

During the nine questions posed to the candidates, often they were all in agreement about how they planned to help Nanaimo as a councillor.

When asked for two ways he would stay connected and in touch with the broader Nanaimo community, Kevin Cantelon said he was glad he was answering shortly after fellow candidate Sacia Burton since he and many others would be in agreement. Burton had advocated for constant communication over social media through Facebook forums and always being available to talk.

All other candidates agreed, with some proposing to have an office where people can stop by while others said their cellphone would always be available to call.

Questions, which were pre-submitted or taken from the floor, highlighted what's important to Nanaimo citizens.

They ranged from asking how the potential councillors would vote on issues if they hadn't done their reading homework, to if not-for-profit organizations should have to pay full fees to use City facilities.

A question about the proposed rezoning of the Linley Valley area to make way for a subdivision garnered the most enthusiastic response from the crowd with lengthy applause after each answer.

The majority of the crowd reacted most passionately to the several candidates which spoke against development.

If anyone has already made up their mind who to vote for, advanced voting begins today, June 28, at the Nanaimo Alliance Church from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The byelection is on July 8.


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On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit

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