The Alberni Clayoquot Regional District is encouraging residents to have their voices heard by voting this month. (Graphic from ACRD)

Q&A with candidates for Electoral Area C and SD70

What is the most pressing election issue and what sets you apart from the other candidates?

West Coast communities will vote for their next representatives in an Oct. 20 election. We asked each candidate running in Tofino and Ucluelet as well as School District 70 and Electoral Area C what they feel is the most important issue facing their community and what sets them apart from the other candidates.

Candidates for Electoral Area C (Long Beach)

Tony Bennet

What do you feel is the most pressing election issue?

I have lived on the Coast for over 40 years, raised my family here, struggled with many of you during the tough times and have seen the many changes that have impacted our region. I have worked directly in the logging, fishing and tourism industries. My partner Linda was born and raised in Ahousaht. I understand the issues First Nation Communities continue to face and the struggle and successes the Right to Self Determination will mean. Area C is a collection of diverse communities with a wide range of needs. I, like you, fell in love with this place. It has given me so much and ,with your support, I hope to continue to give a little back.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

The pressures facing us both externally and within the individual communities that make up Area C are varied and complex. Regional discussions include housing, transportation, waste management, water and health care provision. I will continue to work with our partners to provide a vision and seek solutions on these issues. Full participation from all communities in the region to actively engage on projects of Regional Consequence is key to our future. I continue to help lead the ACRD in recognition of First Nation Rights to Self Determination, including the adoption of the Ahousaht Land Use Vision. As well as the ACRD’s continued support to a negotiated settlement to the T’aaq-wiihak fisheries court case.

Kelvin ‘Kel’ Roberts

What is the most pressing issue in this election?

There are a number of pressing election issues that will have major impacts on not just the West Coast, but the province as a whole. These include the proposed LNG plant and oil spill response regulations. However, for us the potential extinction of the Southern Resident Killer Whales and the particular measures that the Minister of Fisheries is planning to, or has enacted such as the limiting of Fin Fishing (Spring Salmon), will have a huge impact on tourism, and sport and commercial fisheries for the West Coast. While currently these restrictions are in place along the Salish Sea and areas on the North Coast, the majority of salmonids migrate along the West Coast, so the impact of local closures to residents of our area is critical.

What sets you apart from other candidates?

What sets me apart is based on my platform of effective and pro-active proven leadership skills and a keen interest to listen to and pursue the needs of tax payers and residents, both full time and seasonal. I am a critical thinker with common sense, and an action oriented person. I will offer vitality and transparency for Area C residents and an open, collaborative and community based approach. I will pursue new ideas and offer a positive approach to any issue. I believe it is time for a change in local government.

Candidates for School District 70 West Coast representative

Sandra Leslie

What do you feel is the most pressing election issue?

The most pressing election issue for the West Coast School Board Candidate is to be a powerful voice for the West Coast schools. The Alberni Valley has five seats on the School Board as opposed to our one so it is imperative that our representative is well informed and willing to speak out on all the issues. Our schools need to be upgraded for seismic safety. The ratings are H1 (the highest need for upgrading) at USS and UES. Wickanninish has an H3 rating, but as the only school in the community, it has a greater priority than other H3 schools. All 3 schools have a pressing need to be upgraded!

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I am prepared to be this much needed vocal board member. With 30 years as a teacher in the district and 40 years as a resident and volunteer on the West Coast, I have the experience and drive to promote and support our schools.

Also running for School District 70 is Sally Mole.

READ MORE: Q&A with Tofino’s candidates for mayor

READ MORE: Q&A with Ucluelet’s candidates for mayor

READ MORE: Q&A with Tofino’s candidates for council

READ MORE: Q&A with Ucluelet’s candidates for council

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