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Recap: Election 2014 Downtown Mayoral Debate

When: Wednesday Oct 29th from 7 pm – 9 pm

Where: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad Street

This event was co-sponsored by the DRA, DVBA, and GVPL. Four of the eight mayoral candidates were invited to debate: current mayor Dean Fortin, current councillor Lisa Helps, Stephen Andrew, and Ida Chong. Ken Kelly (DVBA) stated that in order to keep the speakers on track with time, and have more questions debated, the top foremost candidates were chosen to attend. Debate questions were gathered by the organizers and chosen with regards to relevance and general diversity. Jo-Ann Roberts, from CBC Radio All Points West, acted as moderator. Jo-Ann explained the evening’s format. The debate was in two phases. Phase 1 had opening statements with the candidates introducing themselves and their goals if elected. Each candidate then answered questions submitted by the organizers. They had three minutes to speak to each question, one minute to respond, and three minutes for discussion. The order of place at the table and answering was done by a draw. Each question was answered by all four, in a rotating order. Phase 2 allowed each candidate to ask one other candidate a question, followed by a rebuttal. The event ended with a two-minute statement from each candidate. Wendy and Lindsay were the official timekeepers.

Ten questions were asked:

  1. Of the eight items listed in the Cities Strategic Plan, is there one that takes priority?

  2. Business vacancies are concentrated in the downtown. What can be done to support existing businesses and attract new?

  3. Downtown hotels and conference centre: What should be done with the Crystal Garden?

  4. Amalgamation: Are you in favor of some form of amalgamation?

  5. Victoria police: Will you make a commitment to have more officers on the street?

  6. Safety on the street: How to make tourists, residents and business owners feel safe?

  7. Downtown infrastructure is aging and deficit is higher. Why hasn’t more been done and what are the priorities?

  8. What is the role of the Public Library? What will you do to enhance usage and space requirements?

  9. Multimodal transportation: What progressive ideas do you have to enhance roads for multi-use?

  10. Short-term vacation rentals: What are your views and how will you address this issue?

The evening was judged to be a great success. Approximately 150 people attended. Many attendees live outside of the downtown core, and we are all fortunate that people are passionate about issues affecting not only their neighborhood, but also the heart of the city. Some new councillor candidates and incumbent councillors distributed campaign material both before and after the debate.

Jo-Ann, along with our timekeepers, kept the discussions on point and in the allotted time. Jo-Ann thanked all the candidates, organizers, and public for attending and encouraged all to vote.

Advance polling stations begin Nov 5th and general election day is Nov 15th. Information is listed on click on Victoria Votes.

The evening debate ended with the candidates staying to mingle with the crowd.

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