Silas White made a “loud and proud” announcement that he would be seeking the Gibsons mayor's chair during an event at the 101 Brewhouse in Gibsons on Aug. 6. White shared his statement from the evening along with an estimate that 85 people were in attendance with Coast Reporter by email.
In his address, White said he believes that Gibsons is being neglected, overlooked and underserved by BC Ferries, BC Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health, among other provincial and federal agencies. If elected, he said he plans to spend at least half his time as mayor on advocacy for housing, healthcare and especially resident priority loading and hourly ferry service.
Acknowledging that he was making his second mayoral candidacy speech at the same venue, he said “I guess it is now the stuff of local legend that in 2018 I was acclaimed for mayor, was even mayor-elect for one or two days, but withdrew for health reasons … I have learned and reflected a lot, especially on how to take better care of myself in order to take care of others… all that good stuff I’d previously rushed past as a young man in a hurry,” his speech text reads.
“I also think that by now, I have a very deep understanding of, and appreciation for, the word 'crisis.' We are in a climate crisis, a housing crisis, an addictions and overdose crisis, a mental health crisis, and arguably still a pandemic. Additionally in Gibsons, we are facing a financial crisis because when our population soon reaches 5,000, we will be hit with a 20 per cent spending increase to pay for our own policing.”
“I am excited about the next term because I believe that in crisis comes great opportunity to finally unite our community, council and staff on the same page.”
“I am also committing today that the 20 per cent budget increase for policing will not mean a 20 per cent increase in taxes. As a community, we are going to do a deep dive into the budget to make this major expenditure fiscally sustainable.”
White was a councillor for the Town from 2014 to 2018. He filed to run for the mayor's seat in the October 2018 election but withdrew his candidacy before election day, citing health concerns from a concussion suffered in a cycling accident.
Incumbent mayor Bill Beamish, who began the 2018 campaign as a candidate for a position as a Town councillor, made the move to the mayor’s race after White withdrew. Beamish was elected with 1,347 votes, 76.6 per cent of the votes cast.
Earlier this year, Beamish announced he would not be seeking re-election, opting to retire and move away from the community. During his speech, White thanked the current mayor and Heather Beamish (Bill’s wife) for ”guiding our town through an unimaginably difficult four years.”
Born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, White settled in Gibsons to raise a family 18 years ago. He spent eight years as a trustee with the local school district and is the president of a publishing company. His educational background includes a master's degree in public administration from the University of Victoria and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UBC.
While it is not live yet, the candidate is currently working on a website, silaswhite.com, that will include his platform.