Our Candidates on Earth Day

Vote for Our Future

Today is Earth Day, but instead of a celebration, we find our precious, life-giving biosphere threatened by poor stewardship. Those with the power to create change so often sit idle at the helm, trying to fend off an ongoing climate crisis with broken promises or clever politicking.

And so it goes--in our own little microcosm--we recently experienced the 2018 election, when slick campaign ads and fluff delivered us a systematic attack on our values, our bylaws and our environment.

There is too much at stake to allow the same to happen again; with a 2-2 split in our council, this bi-election will determine if we follow our vision or if Qualicum Beach is put up for sale to the highest bidders. Therefore, we cannot leave this election up to chance. We cannot leave it up to personalities or political posturing. So on Earth Day we ask: do these candidates have the courage to go on the record and unapologetically stand with our community and our environment?

We asked our candidates 15 brief questions; 5 to introduce themselves and 10 to score. We put together a panel of 3 of our members and asked them, did the candidate provide a clear enough answer that aligns with our environment and our Official Community Plan.

We want to thank every candidate for taking the time to respond. We also want to note that just because someone did not score high, it does not mean they are a bad candidate; it means we were not given a clear enough answer or any answer at all (and we do not believe we can afford to take that chance this election). We will give them every opportunity to provide clarification.

The Results...

100%
Peter Kent
Peter Kent
Response

My long-term vision for Qualicum Beach is one that is both protected and progressive in flavour. We preserve the past, take action in the present, and pursue a dynamic future inclusive to all. I envision our community vibrant, bustling and active while shielding our coveted green spaces, beaches, & artistic charm. We nurture our neighbourhoods and businesses while growing tastefully in alignment with our OCP. We strive to have a sense of community-wide ownership, loyalty and trust with extensive public engagement and high-calibre municipal leadership. Whether we are growing families or growing older, we grow together.

How will you preserve & enhance existing greenspaces and sensitive ecosystems, as well as expand them around the Town core?
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that Qualicum Beach is within the traditional sacred territory of the Qualicum First Nation. The preservation and enhancement of existing green space and ecosystems is extremely important to the vitality of our town, for future generations and what makes us distinctive. By adhering to our OCP and not allowing intrusion into sensitive ecosystems, we maintain that protection. Also, Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over the next ten years is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12 mega tonnes annually by 2050. We must continue to collaborate with our government to utilize.

Which member of the current Council do you believe you will get along with the best, and why?
In all honesty, I believe I’d get along with all three of our councillors well as a teammate, whether we view perspectives differently or not. I’ve appreciated the opportunity for dialogue speaking with our three current incumbents, our previous councillor/MLA Adam Walker and Chief Recalma of the Qualicum First Nation.

Why is nature important to you?
As the saying goes, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” As a father to 11 year old twin sons (6th generation Qualicum Beach boys), it’s important to me that our community is forward thinking and mindful of our environment for future generations. Whether I’m out for a bike ride or walking along the beach spotting orcas, I can’t help but feel fortunate for the opportunity to call this home. This town is what attracted our family to reside here over 100 years ago and it’s a town I hope to keep families thriving in for the next 100 years and beyond.

What is your favorite natural feature in Qualicum Beach, and why?
My favourite natural feature in Qualicum Beach might sound cliché but it’s…the beach. My family and I cannot get enough of the ocean. My sons & I walk along the sea-wall and try to envision what it was like when their great-grandfather helped build the sea-wall decades ago. It’s breathtaking.

100%
Anne Skipsey
Anne Skipsey
Response

In 2050 in Qualicum Beach I find a thriving, attractive, safe and diverse community. The community has retained and significantly enhanced its “village” character in its pedestrian-centric uptown. The town is buzzing with people in cafes and unique shops supplying everything the community needs. Markets are selling fresh produce from nearby farms. Community members gather in inviting public spaces. There is a wide range of housing options and accommodation for tourists. I’m impressed by a healthy urban forest, which supports activity and an abundance of wildlife. Clean drinking water flows from the tap and all amenities are accessible to everyone.

How will you preserve & enhance existing greenspaces and sensitive ecosystems, as well as expand them around the Town core?
The best path forward is through the implementation of a Tree & Vegetation Management Plan and Bylaw. This will give the Town a framework for action to maintain healthy and resilient landscapes in a changing climate. We should value our natural infrastructure assets. Our natural assets, including forests, provide ecosystem services, like managing rainwater. This would give us the same functionality as engineered infrastructure, without the cost. As part of the next OCP review process, we need to review our sustainability plan and our land use designations with a goal of expanding our greenspaces and giving them clear protected status.

Which member of the current Council do you believe you will get along with the best, and why?
Like my Mom, no favourites!

Why is nature important to you?
Qualicum Beach is a microcosm of the natural world. We share one of the most spectacular and bio-diverse areas in the country. We are dependent on nature for regulation of our climate, for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Nature enhances our physical and emotional well-being. It energizes and inspires us! It is the underpinning of our culture and our economy. We need to be constant stewards of this inheritance that gives us jobs, joy and hope for future generations.

What is your favorite natural feature in Qualicum Beach, and why?
My favourite natural feature is Qualicum’s beach. It’s a safe and fun place for people of all ages. It’s where memories are made of family picnics and learning to swim. Nature is in abundance, ever changing with the seasons. Breathtaking sunsets are unchanged by time.

40%
Jean Young
Jean Young
Response

To have continued social & economic prosperity, to continually be proactive in addressing climate change, continued adherence to the waterfront master plan (see vision statement for the QB waterfront), continued high standards in our community for the quality of life for current residents & future generations. And actually fulfilling the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan would be good.

How will you preserve & enhance existing greenspaces and sensitive ecosystems, as well as expand them around the Town core?
In new developments besides having green initiatives, percentage of property to be designated greenspace (associated with positive mental health). Definitely save old growth trees as they provide greater aesthetic appeal & emotional benefits, as well as exponentially higher ecosystem services like air filters, cooling & co2 removal. Staying abreast of your suggestions & current world news.

Which member of the current Council do you believe you will get along with the best, and why?
I am committed to respectful collaboration & open communication with everyone.

Why is nature important to you?
It provides the essentials for our existence & survival!

What is your favorite natural feature in Qualicum Beach, and why?
The boulevard of trees planted on Memorial Avenue. Over 25 years ago upon driving into QB it was so impressive & special to see these little saplings being planted. They continue to grow endearingly strong & beautiful and that transfers over to how I want our community to be. I am appreciative & proud to call Qualicum Beach my home

10%
Brian Denbigh
Brian Denbigh
Response

My long term vision for Qualicum Beach is status quo. Growth be governed by the citizens of the town. I believe we really need to ensure we keep our jewel attractive to all walks of life.

How will you preserve & enhance existing greenspaces and sensitive ecosystems, as well as expand them around the Town core?
I'm a firm believer in doing things right. Green spaces and eco systems are areas we need to keep. Enhancing these spaces requires careful considerations and impact studies prior to proceeding with any adjustments.

Which member of the current Council do you believe you will get along with the best, and why?
I have no preconceived ideas of getting along with specific members of council. Councils are a strategic part of the Canadian Political infrastructure and need to perform professionally, strategically and listen to its citizens.

Why is nature important to you?
I love animals and without their habitats they no longer have the ability to exist as they had. I'm just amazed when new species of animals and plants are found. I am also an active member in the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.I love animals and without their habitats they no longer have the ability to exist as they had. I'm just amazed when new species of animals and plants are found. I am also an active member in the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.


What is your favorite natural feature in Qualicum Beach, and why?
This is a no brainer. The Beach and all the wildlife. Our climate also helps!

10%
Sarah Duncan
Sarah Duncan
Response

My long-term vision for Qualicum Beach is a vibrant thriving community that is inclusive of families, seniors and all of those in between. It balances thoughtful growth, while meeting the needs of an evolving community for not only this generation, but for generations to come.

Note on Alignment Score:
Out of the 5 candidates, Sarah Duncan was the only one who did not answer our questions directly. The panel gave her 1 point for mentioning the Official Community Plan was a "policy document".

The Scoring...

1. While countless municipalities--such as Nanaimo and Victoria--have moved forward with comprehensive Tree and Vegetation bylaws to protect their urban forests, ours continues to languish after many years. Which candidates clearly signaled support for moving this bylaw forward immediately?

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

2. Should we continue to allow the toxicity, infighting and lawsuits--some of which has been reported in the national media about Qualicum Beach--or should we implement a Code of Conduct like North Cowichan's to ensure our public servants spend their time working for us? We need councillors who signal a clear intent to immediately tackle this issue.

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

3. We want to know if our candidates' campaigns are fueled with developers' cash who have active applications. Can we be assured that greed--with strings attached--isn't fueling this election?

Brian Denbigh
Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Jean Young
Sarah Duncan

4. Similarly, which candidates can assure us today that their campaigns are not propelled by big money with significantly high average donation amounts? We want people-powered campaigns, from our community and for our community.

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

5. Our Official Community Plan does not allow residential development in the Estate Residential Properties. 13 thousand people have signed a petition in agreement. Do these candidates agree?

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

6. In 2005, property was removed from the ALR to become a resort, promising sustainable jobs and a boost to tourism. Now, the proponents want to change the plan and sprawl what may be hundreds of year-round housing units into the Beach Creek Watershed; we may conceivably never see the resort we all planned for. Which of these candidates will defend our Official Community Plan and vision for this resort, instead of a blank-check with more sprawl?

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

7. In 2020, Qualicum Beach allowed construction activity in an Ecological Development Permit Area. No permit was issued; not even a building permit. Today, this "business as usual" (Mayor Wiese) has resulted in long-term ecological damage with an official community trail turned into rubble. Below are the candidates who do not agree with this mess that resulted from a lack of due diligence.

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

8. We all need recreational trails. But what we do not need is deforestation and threatening the habitat of blue-listed species, like the Great Blue Heron. Last year, we saw alleged violations of Federal Law result in a Compliance Order against the Mayor. We asked our candidates if they disagreed with this ongoing activity, which appears reckless, unbalanced and likely illegal to date.

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan
Jean Young

9. Bylaw 800, our Official Community Plan, is a policy document. Too often we see people refer to it as a "guide". Yes, our needs may change outside the review window, but the OCP is not meant to bend to the will of every developer who wants to make a buck. It is not a suggestion. It is policy that dictates growth and development according to the will of the community.

Sarah Duncan
Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Jean Young
Brian Denbigh

10. Our Official Community Plan is clear: densification over sprawl. Growth should occur near the downtown core. If followed, we may see a vibrant, bustling cultural center drawing tourism from afar, with a beautiful and unique form and character that sets our growing seaside village apart from the rest. If abandoned, we will simply sprawl like any municipality, until homes replace our rural spaces and none remain. Which candidates have signaled that they will staunchly defend our vision of densified growth, rather than endless sprawl?

Peter Kent
Anne Skipsey
Jean Young
Brian Denbigh
Sarah Duncan