Skip to content

Gibsons candidates talk business

The 10 candidates vying for council seats for Gibsons talked business on Wednesday night.

The 10 candidates vying for council seats for Gibsons talked business on Wednesday night.

The Gibsons and District Chamber of Commerce and the Gibsons Landing Business Association (GLBA) presented a business forum for all candidates at the Cedars Inn.

Mayoralty candidates Barry Janyk and Angela Letman joined council candidates Bob Curry, Alice Lutes, Robert Tiffany, LeeAnn Johnson, Gerry Tretick, Marcia Forst, Chris Koopmans and Bob Jones for an evening of questions and answers on business-related topics.

All the candidates for council were given four minutes to introduce themselves and respond to formal questions that they received ahead of time. The questions were put forward by the chamber and the GLBA.

The questions included: describe your level of commitment to the business community's interests and your perspective on business development in the community. Tell us what motivates your perspective.

Describe your long-term vision for the business community (in particular, provide your perspective on social sustainability, the need to create a demographically balanced community Ñ as opposed to a retirement community Ñ and the necessity for job creation in that context). What types of business growth do you support within this community?Describe your perspective on growth and growth management on the Coast.

What types of business should be encouraged and what kinds of policies should the jurisdiction pursue in order to create a healthy business climate?

How will you work to improve connectivity between various community interest groups, including the business community?

How important is the business community to your overall platform?

Given the complexity and the wide range of questions, all the candidates did their best to summarize and hit on a few key points.

The need to attract more families and provide amenities was touched upon by all the candidates.

Across the board, candidates applauded the business community in Gibsons for their work and encouraged business and council to work even better together in the future.

"I want to be part of a council that supports Gibsons as a special and innovative place to live and work," Johnson said.

"I'd like to develop a business code of conduct," added Jones. "We would then build a reputation that this is a place to do business. To do this, you must have all stakeholders at the table. Gibsons can't exist without a healthy business community."

Tretick pointed out his work on the Gibsons Economic Development Partnership (GEDP) and made reference to a new economic development officer, who will be hired soon.

"I'm a person of action. Rather than speaking, I like to get the job done," Tretick said. "We must be seen as a business-friendly community. People have lots of choices. If you're not friendly, they have other places to go."

All the candidates also spoke about better communication between council and the business community as a key component to a better relationship.

Janyk and Letman then had their crack at the questions and further comments on vision and direction for the business community.

"I want to introduce you to the bible Ñ the town's Official Community Plan (OCP)," said Janyk, holding up a copy of the document. "This document sets the vision for our community and it's a bright vision. Business drives this community. There must be a bond with business and a two-way dialogue."

"I will be proactive to support, promote and enhance business," said Letman. "There are not many things or events that happen in this community that don't affect business. We need to continue to foster a positive working relationship to see this community grow and prosper."

Following a short break, candidates answered questions from the audience.

Questions ranged from how candidates would support existing businesses to whether they support the creation of a botanical garden in Gibsons, development of Dakota Ridge, big box stores and restructuring.

All of the candidates pledged their support for the town's continuing involvement in the development of Dakota Ridge. The botanical garden proposal was also looked upon favourably.

Wednesday's forum was just the start of several forums being planned in the coming weeks before election day Nov. 19.

Gibsons' residents will have another chance to meet the candidates and hear their views on Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gibsons Legion. All candidates for mayor and council will be on hand. The forum will be moderated by Ed Hill and is being sponsored by the Gibsons Residents' Association.