The first opportunity to hear from Sidney’s candidates for mayor in this fall’s municipal election is tentatively set for October 21 at the Mary Winspear Centre.
Organized by the Save Our Sidney group (UPDATE: group has changed its name to Support Our Sidney), the forum will be centred around a discussion paper being formulated by the group (SOS). Spokesperson Richard Talbot says the discussion points were being finalized this week and will focus on some of the issues seen by its members as important in this election period. The SOS has a variety of concerns and have been vocal in their opposition to the current town council, especially when it comes to supporting downtown business. They describe themselves as council watchdogs, a role that Talbot said will continue after the fall election.
Talbot said they represent a variety of interests and its members are not supporting any particular mayoral candidate. Candidate Steve Duck was involved in the early formation of SOS this year, when Talbot led discussions on the threats to Sidney’s retail economy. Duck, a local businessman, has since distanced himself from the SOS and has withdrawn as a member of the advisory group. Talbot said he hopes Duck isn’t seen as the SOS’ candidate — especially since its members are in a variety of camps.
“Duck represents change, yes, but it’s not an overall SOS position to support only him.”
All of the announced mayoral candidates, Duck, Don Amos and Steve Price, will be invited to speak to the discussion points during the first 10 minutes of the forum. Talbot said the floor would then be opened up to SOS members and their questions, followed by the general public. Talbot added the forum is only tentative at this time, allowing for the nomination period to end on Oct. 10. He said SOS had considered hosting an all candidates forum, but with an estimated 12-plus people running in Sidney, he said no one would have sufficient time to speak.
“We need to know where the candidates stand,” Talbot said. “I don’t think many people know what any of them stand for yet.”
That said, Talbot added he realizes candidates have until Oct. 10 to declare their intent to run and often the campaign doesn’t ramp up until then. He added he hopes his group and others will get to hear more from all of the candidates to help them decide who to support.
The SOS mayoral candidates forum is scheduled to be held in the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre on Oct. 21, pending the attendance of all of the mayoral candidates.
All candidates on the Saanich Peninsula will have an opportunity to be heard at a series of public forums hosted by the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce in advance of the Nov. 15 election. Watch the PNR for details.