It was a full house at the Colwood all-candidate forum Tuesday evening. (Lindsey Horsting/News staff)

Colwood residents come in droves to all-candidates forum

Transportation, sewers and development were hot topics

It was a packed house at the Colwood all-candidates forum. Transportation, sewers and “holes in the ground” were hot-topic questions posed by the public.

All candidates answered what they would change about the Official Community Plan (OCP) that was recently released by Colwood. Some candidates said that it was a living document, just a plan that could be altered as time progressed, and some said they wouldn’t change anything in the OCP at this point in time.

READ ALSO: Colwood hosts public hearing for OCP

The 13 candidates were broken up into two panels to answer questions over the three-hour event.

Doug Kobayashi said he is pro-economic development and wants to make Colwood the city that helps cut red tape. He wants to let “everyone know it’s [Colwood] open for business” bringing in more revenue. He said there will inevitably need to be an increase in roads when infrastructure increases that requires a regional solution, not just the responsibility of the City of Colwood.

Coun. Gordie Logan feels Colwood needs more roads and sidewalks, but funding is an issue. He said one change made by council over this past year has been to use revenue from new developments to help fund sidewalks and repair roads.

At this point, around 70 per cent of Colwood is still on septic, and the question was posed about making the move to city sewer.

Mayor Carol Hamilton said council made an effort to improve Kelly Road, which would have included moving those residences to sewer from septic and when the City petitioned the neighbourhood, the popular vote was to not improve it. She said the City does have a master sewer plan and new developments will be hooked up to sewers but it would be a “multi-million dollar quest to do it for everybody.”

Aaron Weisgerber, currently wrapping up his term on council in View Royal, said he would like to work on a plan to expand the current sewer system and would like to find alternative sources of funding for it.

Michael Baxter, who has served in government for more than 40 years, said the relationship between the City and developers isn’t good, to no fault of either party, but it’s something he is interested in working on to further development in Colwood if it makes sense.

“A good relationship doesn’t mean you give away the store, it means more discussion,” he said.

Dean Jantzen, who previously served as the citizen representative for Colwood’s protective services committee, and with his background in law enforcement, wants to ensure Colwood is a safe place for people to raise families.

One of Eve Millinton’s top three priorities is finding a regional solution for public transit. She thinks redeveloping the existing E&N railway for buses would alleviate highway congestion.

Coun. Jason Nault said getting people out of cars and onto bikes is an important step and would review the transportation master plan. He is also keen on the preservation of trees and green spaces throughout the city.

Coun. Cynthia Day said she wants to make transit a doable and achievable option for people.

While Coun. Rob Martin said a way to eliminate the transit problems in Colwood is bringing businesses and post-secondary campuses to the City.

Scott McDonald is an advocate for being able to live and work within a community, something he said he would like to make a possibility for more people if elected.

As a former small business owner and professional engineer, Stewart Parkinson, said he knows what it means to be frugal with spending and he wants to “be the guy at the table that asks the hard questions.”

Misty Olsen thinks informal education for children on health and well-being is important, especially with the legalization of marijuana.

The City of Colwood is hosting a meet and greet with the election candidates Thurdsay, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m.

The election is Oct. 20

lindsey.horsting@goldstreamgazette.com

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