Duncan’s mayoral candidates reflect on campaign

Duncan’s mayoral candidates reflect on campaign

Voters go to the polls on Saturday

It’s been a busy campaign for all four candidates running for mayor of the City of Duncan.

With the voting booths opening early in the morning on Saturday, Sharon Jackson, Daniel Helmer, Martin Barker and Michelle Staples are now in their last lap in the race to replace the retiring Phil Kent as mayor after many weeks on the campaign trail.

Twelve candidates are also running for the six council seats on Duncan’s council.

Long-time city councillor Jackson said she had a “great campaign” and had many interesting conversations with voters at meetings and when she was out knocking on doors.

RELATED STORY: SEVEN-TERM COUNCILLOR SHARON JACKSON RUNNING FOR MAYOR’S CHAIR

She said she was shocked that so many people had no idea about the referendums that will be part of the municipal elections.

Residents of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, of which the City of Duncan is a part, are being asked to vote in two referendums regarding affordable housing and water supply and management.

“It’s scary that so many people have no knowledge of what these referendums are all about because there’s some big tax implications for the people of Duncan,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she’s also concerned about how big the issues around drug addiction and affordable housing were during the campaign.

“Clearly, these are not municipal issues, but are the responsibility of senior levels of government,” she said.

“They need to stand up to the plate on these issues. We don’t tax to deal with these problems in Duncan.”

Jackson said she intends to keep campaigning right up to election day.

“I intend to continue my efforts right up until the last minute,” she said.

“I do think that I’m the best candidate for mayor, but it will be up to the voters and I encourage them to get out to vote in this very important election.”

Barker, who served as a city councillor from 2011-14, said the most common concerns that were raised to him during the campaign were the issues around crime, drug addictions and homelessness.

He said traffic issues are also a major concern.

RELATED STORY: MARTIN BARKER RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF DUNCAN

“We have to do better,” Barker said.

“We need to provide the police with the appropriate tools to deal with crime properly, and we have to lobby senior levels of government to deal with social housing for addictions with mental health issues.”

Barker said he found the all-candidate meetings that he participated in were informative and the vast majority of the candidates ran great campaigns.

“Only a couple ran negative campaigns, but most did a good job and worked hard,” he said.

“I intend to keep campaigning right up to the end. I don’t know if I’ll win, but I know I resonated with many in Duncan because I live here and will share any pain around decisions made by council with them.”

Helmer, who is taking his first crack at municipal politics, said that after listening to the concerns of many of the citizens during the campaign, drugs and crime issues remain at the top of his list of important problems that must be dealt with.

RELATED STORY: HELMER IDENTIFIES DRUG USE, HOMELESS, AS TOP MAYORAL ISSUES

He said that as a property manager downtown, he sees a lot of problems in the area, particularly at night.

“Drug users always congregate close to where I work, which leads to problems, and most people don’t see this because its usually after hours,” Helmer said.

“The RCMP should do their jobs. I see about 20 to 30 officers every day, but very few at night when these people are out.”

Helmer said he was disappointed by the all-candidate meetings because he wasn’t invited to a few, and those he did attend provided few opportunities for him to get his message to the public.

“I really wish that I had more time at these meetings to explain my platform,” he said.

“I enjoyed them, but I wish they were a little fairer. I’m asking the voters to elect some new people to council. It doesn’t matter who as long as they are new. A lot hasn’t changed in this city for the past eight years.”

Staples, who has served on council for two terms, said she has heard the same concerns around the drug and affordable housing crises, and says there is a role for the city in helping to deal with them.

“We have to be involved,” she said.

“Senior levels of government are not the only ones affected by this; it impacts us all every day. We have to be involved in this conversation. How can we not be when we’re dealing with people living in our community?”

RELATED STORY: MICHELLE STAPLES BRINGS UNDERSTANDING OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC ISSUES TO BID FOR DUNCAN MAYOR

Staples said she found the level of interest in local issues among voters seems to be higher than in past elections during the campaign.

She said that judging by her many conversations talking to people door to door, the issue around amalgamation of Duncan and North Cowichan, which was defeated in a referendum last spring, still seems to be controversial.

“There seems to be a lot of new, young families in the city that don’t know the history and were asking me what brought on the referendum,” she said.

“Even a lot of people that have been here awhile are still interested in this conversation.”

Staples said she’s excited by the support she is receiving by many voters, but, ultimately, the people will decide if she is to be mayor on voting day.

“I encourage everyone to get out and vote,” she said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

Duncan’s mayoral candidates reflect on campaign

Duncan’s mayoral candidates reflect on campaign

Duncan’s mayoral candidates reflect on campaign

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour early on Saturday, Feb. 27. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Tim Schewe
DriveSmart: Police Powers

By Tim Schewe If you are stopped by the police, just what… Continue reading

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Drinkwater Elementary School dating to Feb. 25. (Google Street View image)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Drinkwater Elementary

Possible exposures occurred on Thursday, Feb. 25

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read