Business groups reconsider byelection debate
White Rock voters will have an opportunity to get to know their byelection candidates en masse after all.
South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Cliff Annable confirmed Wednesday that the chamber will host an all-candidates meeting Oct. 30 at White Rock Elementary, 1273 Fir St., in collaboration with the White Rock Business Improvement Association.
Officials with both organizations told Peace Arch News earlier this week that they would not be hosting such a meeting.
On Monday, BIA executive director Sherri Wilson Morissette said the non-partisan organization doesn’t typically get involved in politics, and Annable had said the chamber hadn’t held the forums for byelections in the past and that community interest this year did not justify changing that tradition.
However, Annable called PAN the next morning to advise of the change of heart.
“I’ve been working on this since yesterday,” the former White Rock councillor said. “It seems like the right thing to do.”
Regarding the lack of interest in the byelection that had been cited Monday, Annable said he is hopeful that an all-candidates meeting will turn that around.
“There’s not much enthusiasm now, but as it gets closer to the date, hopefully there’ll be more,” he said.
Timing of the meeting – just four days before the vote – is “perfect,” he added.
Annable noted finding space to hold the meeting was a challenge. He was advised by the City of White Rock Tuesday that they were giving up pre-booked space at the school to enable the meeting, from 7-9 p.m. Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, a former mayor, will moderate.
Council hopefuls (in ballot order) include: Pat Petrala, David Chesney, Bill Lawrence, Scott Kristjanson, Tom Willman, Grant Kane, Bruce McWilliam, Megan Knight and Graham Wood.