Mayoral candidate Mike Hallatt, left, answer a question at the all-candidates meeting on Oct. 8, while candidates Bob Day, Corrie Helliwell and Ross Forrest wait to give their own response. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Mayoral candidate Mike Hallatt, left, answer a question at the all-candidates meeting on Oct. 8, while candidates Bob Day, Corrie Helliwell and Ross Forrest wait to give their own response. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Candidates for mayor of Lake Cowichan bombarded with questions during meeting

Election set for Oct. 24

Mayoral hopefuls in Lake Cowichan faced a barrage of quick-paced questions at the all-candidates meeting, hosted by the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce, held in Centennial Hall on Oct. 8.

The questions, which came from the floor and online, covered a wide range of topics and issues, including what each of the candidates would do about the shortage of affordable housing in the community, how they would improve ease of access for city services, how they would support businesses, and what would their priorities be in the remaining two years of their mandate.

Four of the five candidates to replace Rod Peters, who resigned in July for personal reasons, in the byelection on Oct. 24 were on hand for the meeting, which was broken up into three sessions over the day for social distancing purposes, and broadcast live for those at home to participate.

Candidates Bob Day, Ross Forrest, Mike Hallatt and Corrie Helliwell attended the meeting, while Jayne Ingram was absent.

As for her priorities over the next two years until the next municipal vote, if elected, Helliwell said she would work hard to provide good leadership for council and the town, as well as working with the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations in the community.

“I’d try to finish the jobs that council is working on and move forward,” Helliwell said.


Hallatt said he would look at growing the town’s economic base by considering opportunities for businesses like value added enterprises, such as furniture making, in the local forest industry instead of just shipping raw logs overseas.

“I would also work toward’s making the town’s technology more efficient,” he said.

“But I realize as mayor, I could only accomplish so many things.”


Forrest said he would work to blend together with the current council during the rest of its mandate.

“Council already has some priorities for the next two years and I would try to provide the stability that’s needed now during the pandemic,” he said.


Day said he would advocate for a yearly review of the town’s CAO position and management staff.

“I would enhance the town’s online presence to make it easier for people to make payments and access other information,” he said.

“I would also find ways to move along work on the sewer treatment plant, town hall and other town projects.”


As for providing more affordable housing in Lake Cowichan, Day said he would sit with the town’s planners and CAO and review the plans for subdivisions in the community and whether affordable housing components could be added to them.

“We could look at secondary suites as well, and ensure we have good representation at the Cowichan Housing Association which can help us access funding for projects,” Day said.

Forrest said there’s no doubt that the economic success in the community over the past 10 years has driven up house prices.

“We could look at our zoning in an effort to have more secondary suites,” he said.

“A lot of people are fighting to make their mortgage payments and this would help them with that.”

Hallatt said the lack of affordable housing has become a political football, and the problem is getting worse.

“Tiny homes can be designed, but they run into all kinds of problems with municipalities,” he said.

“Why don’t we consider setting up a tiny home park here?”

Helliwell said there isn’t much rental stock in Lake Cowichan so developers could be encouraged to construct apartment buildings, and BC Housing could be asked to help subsidize such developments.

In regards to what could be done to support local businesses during the ongoing challenging times, Day said the town could help businesses connect with the appropriate institutions that can make them more innovative, including using more online technologies.

“The town and businesses also need better strategies to deal with lots of people in the summer months,” he said.

Forrest said the town needs to develop a comprehensive plan to help local businesses, that could include providing parking exclusively for tubers which would free up parking for the businesses.

“We’ve had a good year, but winter continues to be a challenge for businesses,” he said.

Hallatt said he had discussed the problem of what to do in slower winter months with some local businesses.

“We need businesses that would warrant people coming from Duncan and Nanaimo to shop at them,” he said.

“To do that, I think we have to incubate some new business ideas for the town.”

Helliwell said that during the busy tourist season, more parking spaces are required, so parking spaces for just one to two hours should be established so tubers wouldn’t take them up all day.

“We also need more online exposure for businesses in the slow season,” she said.

“I’ll help the local businesses any way I can.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

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

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read