Two Ucluelet locals are vying for the team captain spot on Uclueletâ€™s municipal council and both outlined their refereeing strategies during last weekâ€™s all candidates meeting.
Uclueletâ€™s mayoral candidates were asked how they would resolve conflicts at the council table.
â€œI donâ€™t think thereâ€™s a member of council who wants to step into a conflict,â€ said incumbent mayor Bill Irving.
He said at the beginning of councilâ€™s current term he gauged each councillorâ€™s goals and priorities and laid out a strategy for handling strengths and interests.
â€œI think thatâ€™s very important when youâ€™re working with a council thatâ€™s got four people who are creative, talented, and are a huge asset; you bring all those gifts to the table and tackle issues,â€ he said.
â€œNot to say we agree at all times but weâ€™ve respectfully hashed out those issues and moved forward on everything thatâ€™s been put in front of us.â€
He said council put a point of emphasis this term on getting out to visit local organizations and surrounding communities rather than sit back and wait to be approached themselves.
â€œThatâ€™s an important asset that we bring to the table, that desire to communicate and find creative ways to do it,â€ he said.
Challenger Dianne St. Jacques suggested conflicts within council are rare and councillors are usually respectful of the process.
â€œTo date I havenâ€™t had the challenge of conflict at the table, having said that though when people are elected they come to the table with different opinions and different ideas and I think itâ€™s very important to listen to those ideas and be respectful,â€ she said.
â€œI think the Mayor has a key role to play in managing discussion between members of council. I think the mayor sets the tone and keeps everything polite and on a good level, at the same time itâ€™s important to allow that interaction to take place.â€
She added council should get into the community to collect feedback and input.
â€œCouncil needs to get out there, not wait for the community to come to a meeting,â€ she said.
The Mayoral candidates were also asked how they would improve communication between council and the community.
St. Jacques suggested the district catch hold of social media.
â€œThat seems to be where the younger generation is at thereâ€™s no question about it,â€ she said.
She said it is important for council and the community to be able to interact freely and suggested Uclueletâ€™s regular council meetings are not prone to open dialogue.
â€œThe council meeting itself is a very formal process and itâ€™s impossible really to have a lot of interaction,â€ she said.
She said that during her tenure as Mayorâ€”1999-2008â€”council held public Committee of the Whole meetings every second week.
â€œThey were more relaxed and more open and we actually had conversations with folks that were in the audience,â€ she said. â€œI think that makes us feel more of a team when weâ€™re approaching things.â€
She added council should not be confined to their council chambers.
â€œCouncil needs to get out more we need to knock on doors and get opinions; itâ€™s really important,â€ she said.
Irving agreed and spoke to local and regional organizations council has met with including the Wild Pacific Trail Society, USSâ€™ Student Union, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and Tourism Ucluelet.
He also laid out a wide range of public open houses the district has hosted this year.
He said council put significant effort into visiting Tofino and surrounding First Nations and recently struck an agreement with the Ucluelet First Nation with a particular emphasis on the Nationâ€™s development around the West Coast Junction.
On the social media front, Irving said he has become more involved in his Facebook page.
â€œItâ€™s a tremendous opportunity, but itâ€™s not everybodyâ€™s cup of tea,â€ he said.
He said the district has revamped its website and now distributes quarterly newsletters along with submitting articles to the Westerly and being interviewed on the radio.
Read more meeting coverage in this week’s Westerly News, on newsstands now.