An advanced voting station is set up at the Ucluelet Community Centre on Wednesday and will be open until 8 p.m. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

VIDEO: Advanced Voting Day in Ucluelet

“I voted because I really love this community and I’m really passionate about Ucluelet.”

Housing, experience and infrastructure were cited as key issues by voters heading out of Ucluelet’s municipal election voting station Wednesday morning.

It’s Advanced Voting Day throughout B.C. and Ucluelet residents can cast their early ballots at the Ucluelet Community Centre until 8 p.m. on Oct. 10. General Voting Day is Oct. 20.

“I voted because I really love this community and I’m really passionate about Ucluelet. I want it to grow in a good sustainable way and I want my voice to be heard,” Luke Erridge told the Westerly News outside Wednesday’s voting station.

He said he wasn’t focused on any specific issues when he cast his ballot, but picked candidates that he felt could keep up with changing times.

“I was more getting a sense of who they were and if I thought they would be the right person to guide Ucluelet,” he said. “Whether we like it or not, the world is changing and Ucluelet is changing with that. The person I voted for [for mayor] I felt was the best person to help Ucluelet change with the times, yet maintaining its core small town values.”

He said he was impressed with his choices and felt good about the candidates he voted for.

“I was extremely impressed,” he said. “I think they are the right people to guide Ucluelet into the future. So, I’ve got to say that I am happy with my vote and I’m really happy that we live in a place where our votes mean something and we’re able to really be heard.”

Tom Petrowitz plans to be in Europe on Oct. 20 and used the Advanced Voting Day to have his say in the town’s direction over the next four years.

He said he voted for candidates he felt would focus on local infrastructure.

“I’d like to see the district get back to what they’re supposed to be doing like infrastructure, fixing the roads, fixing the sidewalks, fixing the sewers, fixing the water,” he said noting Ucluelet’s perpetual issues with discoloured water.

READ MORE: Water concerns pour into Ucluelet

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“The water is pretty much undrinkable…We put a $3,500 filter system in our house so we could drink the water and I don’t think you should have to do that.”

He added he was glad to see so many candidates running.

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet candidates announced for Oct. 20 municipal election

“I was happy to see so many people wanting to get involved. That’s nice. You do have a choice. I’ve lived in town for 38 years and sometimes you don’t have a choice,” he said.

One candidate Petrowitz felt comfortable stating he’d voted for was Rachelle Cole, a local paramedic who came to his aid during an emergency.

“She sort of saved my life last year with her job. I voted for her. That’s one I’m going to shout out to because she did a great job on me and, if she did a good job on me, she’ll do a great job on the town.”

Zoe Jordan said she hopes to see her next local government team focus on affordable housing so that small business owners like her can find enough staff to hire.

“Voting is important because it’s our community and it reflects on all of the choices made for our community and changes that need to be made,” she said adding she felt her choices for council in this election were stronger than those who ran in 2014. “I’m feeling good about my vote.”

Doug Kimoto said housing and supporting Ucluelet’s resource economy, like fisheries, were his main focuses when choosing who to vote for.

He added that, with only one incumbent councillor running for council, experience was a key factor in his choice for mayor.

“We need a strong leader, an experienced leader,” he said. “We could have up to four new councillors so it’s very important to have a leader with some experience…I’m happy with who I voted for.”

READ MORE: Ucluelet candidates speak out at chamber forum

READ MORE: Ucluelet mayor will not run for re-election

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

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