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Familiar faces vie for Gibsons councillor seats

Incumbent Annemarie De Andrade, 2018 mayoral hopeful Blake Macleod and rookie candidate Des Delaney will seek Gibsons council seats in the Oct. 15 local government elections.
Gibsons council candidates
Gibsons Council candidate Blake MacLeod, Gibsons Council candidate Des Delaney and incumbent councillor Annemarie De Andrade

Incumbent Annemarie De Andrade, 2018 mayoral hopeful Blake Macleod and rookie candidate Des Delaney will seek Gibsons council seats in the Oct. 15 local government elections.

Delaney supports a zero per cent tax increase

Town resident Delaney was the first to file papers with the municipality to run for the position. While this will be his first attempt at securing a seat on council, he has spoken during public comment opportunities at a variety of Town meetings over the past council’s term.

When asked why he was putting his name forward, Delaney told Coast Reporter in and email that “in talking with many people within the community there is a common desire for a back-to-basics approach from their elected representatives. I have the experience, the skills and knowledge to assist with bringing the focus back to the needs of the residents versus ideological views not supported by the appropriate data.”

He stated his campaign would focus on the importance of maintaining town infrastructure. He said he feels establishing sustainable development policies that consider the needs of the community, the financial impacts on the tax base as well as environmental considerations to achieve a balance between desires and reality, should be key priorities for the next council.

Initiatives he plans to bring forward, if elected, include a water sustainability plan and a zero percent tax increase during the next council term. “I am the only candidate that has presented cost savings to the current council over the last two years that can reduce the existing budget by ten percent plus by focusing on the basics – This is easily achievable and is the cornerstone of my professional qualifications,” he wrote. 

Other priority areas Delaney identified included establishing an urban tree and green space program, dedicating the Charman forest area as a protected park and building what he called the “long overdue” off-leash dog park. 

Authenticity in engagement a priority for MacLeod

On Aug. 30, MacLeod announced he would be running for a council seat this time around after competing, unsuccessfully, to be elected as mayor in 2018. He says he will be spending more time “knocking on doors, meeting with people and listening carefully to what individuals say they want to see from council members” in this campaign.

He pointed to the rising requirement for local government to engage with the public and said what the public is looking for in that engagement is “authenticity.” He believes the challenge in public input is how that is translated to policy.  “It’s the job of government to listen to all voices and think deeply about the voices that aren’t being spoken, those of the large percentage of the voting public that don’t come to public meetings so that it is not just the vocal groups that get all the attention… most people want government to just take care of things.”

According to a press release announcing his candidacy, MacLeod stated, “I believe the Town can do more to encourage the development community, and individual property owners to integrate stable, more affordable housing solutions for low-income residents. Where bylaw amendments are required, council must act to remove any barriers to building up a sustainable workforce in support of local businesses.”

He stated that the town’s Official Community Plan is overdue for updating to the challenges facing the community.  “I welcome a robust exchange of ideas around what might be termed ‘the ongoing commodification of the Sunshine Coast.’

“We need to talk about how we can control that change in a way that doesn’t make us lament the change, but embrace it because we are being active, creative, responsive and resilient and the role of Council in that is enormous. In terms of engagement, we can do better”

 MacLeod stated it is the job of each person at the Council table to listen to the others, to compromise and see the perspectives being brought forward. “There is a lot of delaying and deferring with the current council and I would work toward strengthening council cohesiveness,” he said.

De Andrade would continue work on aquifer issues

Current council member De Andrade made her intention to seek re-election public in a press release issued Sept. 6.   

In that document, she stated she believed the current council has made “good strides in our commitment to increase community engagement while listening to residents’ feedback and concerns. We worked to protect our aquifer and increase resilience to climate change, support the development of affordable housing, while being fiscally responsible.”

She also cited the need for more work to be done related to the town’s aquifer and continued water security as the community’s population grows. That included a commitment to support ongoing work with other levels of government and non-government organizations to protect the aquifer recharge area.

On the subject of affordable housing, she said one of her priorities if re-elected would be to explore tools including the Speculation and Vacancy Tax and development incentives to expand the housing supply.

Increased support for the Gibsons Senior Society and review of the town’s Age-Friendly Plan were also identified by De Andrade as goals she would support if returned to the Council table.

“Residents have the right and deserve to be involved in the planning of our Town and other government decisions that impact their lives… I am committed to ensuring all community voices and values are considered in decision-making,” her statement reads. 

Those interested in seeking election to Gibsons council have until 4 p.m. on Sept. 9 to file nomination papers with the Town. The most up-to-date information on who is running for office and other elctions details is available at