Municipal electoral hopefuls face the audience during last week's all-candidates meeting in Port Hardy

Municipal electoral hopefuls face the audience during last week's all-candidates meeting in Port Hardy

Port Hardy hears candidates

Port Hardy’s mayoral candidates and all 13 prospective councillors had a chance to put their case for election to the public last week.

Gazette staff

PORT HARDY—Both of Port Hardy’s mayoral candidates and all thirteen prospective councillors had a chance to put their case for election to the public last week as the Chamber of Commerce hosted an all-candidates meeting at the Civic Centre.

More than 150 members of the public came out to hear the candidates lay out their platforms before fielding a variety of questions from the both the audience and the Chamber.

Chamber Director Angela Smith welcomed the candidates and the public to the event, saying, “Thank you foremost for attending this session. Your participation tonight is critical in sharing information which aids the community of Port Hardy in making an informed decision about who should represent us on council over the next four years.”

Given the exceptionally large field in this year’s election, and to minimize redundant answers, the candidates were broken into three panels of five for the question period.

In the mayoral race, Janet Dorward and Hank Bood are running for the seat left vacant by Mayor Bev Parnham’s passing earlier this year.

Dorward highlighted her current roles on council and spoke of the importance of delivering high-speed internet to all of the town, reexamining the recycling program and improving healthcare in the town. She also highlighted the community forest and said she would be interesting in exploring a similar model with fishing.

Bood reminded the audience of his former mayor status and argued for more accountability and transparency from Municipal Hall, citing the decision to terminate the Epcor contract “behind closed doors” as an example. Bood said he would work with senior government to improve the long-term prospects of the town.

Several common themes came in answers from council candidates with healthcare, affordable and senior housing, economic stimulation and connectivity repeated across several platforms.

Fred Robertson, a teacher and former VINTA President, urged inclusive policies, collaboration with First Nations and other North Island communities and said he would work towards a healthy economy and a healthy population.

Debbie Perkovich floated the idea of a quarterly town hall to improve communication and said she would like to see better opportunities for youth, such as apprenticeships offered through the high school and college.

John Tidbury highlighted his current council and volunteer roles and said he would place a high priority on bringing high speed internet to Port Hardy and offer incentives like lower business property taxes to boost the economy.

Leightan Wishart said that he would bring balanced thinking to the table, while his position as chair of SD85’s Board of Education would serve him well in discussions with all levels of government in an open and transparent council.

Eric Ralph, a former councillor, said the single biggest thing that would help Port Hardy was jobs, brought through settled land claims, increased resource development, more woodlots and small-scale timber sales.

Current councillor Rick Marcotte said that he wanted to continue to give back to the community through focussing on healthcare, seniors, the Cenotaph project, boosting tourism and tackling the flooding on Byng Road.

Fellow councillor Jessie Hemphill pointed to her successes in her last term, particularly in sustainability, green power, youth engagement, First Nations representation, community planning and economic development.

Former college professor Pat Corbett-Labatt spoke of her ties to education and life-long learning and offered ideas to use technology to improve transparency and public engagement with Municipal Hall.

Rod Romas discussed his volunteerism through the Fire Department and sports and said that he would work to bring back the Northern Living Allowance to create more disposable income and “bring the spirit back to Port Hardy.”

Dennis Dugas received a round of applause when he shared his upcoming 40th anniversary of working with the District of Port Hardy and said that he would look to small business concerns, healthcare, seniors’ housing and trade programs.

Shelly Siemens hoped to boost the economy, taking cues from senior staff and working for responsible spending, healthcare and First Nations collaboration. She said she would bring respectful communication and informed decision-making to council.

Graeme Richards highlighted his role with the Port Hardy Minor Hockey association and said he would work to improve the underutilization of public facilities and the current garbage and recycling program.

Shelly Quist said that the biggest challenge facing healthcare in Port Hardy was the recruitment and retention of staff and said she would work to find creative solutions to the problem, seek better acute care and work with first responders.

A video of the event will be made available on the Chamber of Commerce’s website, www.ph-chamber.bc.ca, including the question period.

More information on the council candidates can be found on Pages 12-13 of this week’s Gazette and free to view online at www.northislandgazette.com under the Elections ‘14 tab.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Christmas decorations at Gus' Pub. (Opal Tesch photo)
Gus’ Bar and Grill gets into the holiday spirit

Gus’ Bar and Grill has been a fixture in Port McNeill since… Continue reading

Mike Aldersey, the Port McNeill base manager for West Coast Helicopters has been awarded the prestigious Agar/Stringer Award by the Helicopter Association of Canada. (Submitted photo)
Vancouver Island pilot receives coveted helicopter industry award

Port McNeill based Mike Aldersey is the recipient of the 2o2o Agar/Stringer Award given out to select few Canadians

The notice at Port Hardy Secondary School’s athletic track. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
SD85 school tracks closed to the public during school hours

To keep P.E. classes safe, the restriction went into effect Nov. 30

Shoebox Project logo
Donate now to the Campbell River/North Island Shoebox Project

There is just over a week to go in The Campbell River/North Island Shoebox Project campaign

The entrance to the Port Hardy aquatic centre. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Port Hardy council will decide fate of pool revitalization project at next meeting

The pool revitalization project will be on the agenda at the Dec. 8 meeting for council to vote on.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read