A current member of Lantzville council wants another kick at the can.
Coun. Will Geselbracht is running in the upcoming municipal election, which will take place on Oct. 20.
He will be competing against nine other individuals, including current councillor Dot Neary, for a seat on Lantzville council, which will drop down from six elected councillors to four this coming term.
Geselbracht told the News Bulletin he’s seeking re-election because being on council is “invigorating” and filled with good debate. He said he also wants to see initiatives advanced that were started by the current council.
“I want to make sure we stay the course and continue the good work we’ve made,” he said.
A lawyer by trade, Geselbracht said that when he was first elected in 2015, as the result of a byelection, he wasn’t planning on running in 2018.
“During the last three years I have been provoked because of it has been a bit of a frustrating experience with the blowback that we got from certain members of council,” he said.
With the Nanaimo-Lantzville water agreement triggered by Lantzville council, Geselbracht said he wants to help implement it. He said his other priorities are ensuring the village core is developed in a manner that meets expectations of the community, adding that based on survey results, the community wants to see more diversity within the village core as well as a mix of housing.
“The current draft of the OCP really doesn’t provide that, so that is going to have to be tweaked,” he said.
Geselbracht explained that he is “firmly” in support of “rational development” that meets the needs and expectations of the entire community. He said development hasn’t happened in Lantzville in 30 years and is needed in order to pay for infrastructure and expand the tax base.
“Life progresses and development is part of that,” he said. “Development is what provides infrastructure and cuts the cost to residents for say, getting water or sewer.”
While some candidates have spoken about the need for better governance and improved relationships with staff, Geselbracht said he believes the current council engaged in “better governance” than previous councils, but lacked some leadership. He said he also felt the relationship with staff was improved on during his time on council.
“Generally the dialogue in council was respectful. We certainly kept our eye on how people spoke to staff at meetings and when that tended to get a little too harsh, there were objections made,” Geselbracht said.
Geselbracht said one of his proudest moments during his first three years on council was approving the construction of the water pipeline from Lantzville to Nanaimo.
“That was key,” he said. “Tendering for that pipe, voting to put it in, that was the key step, in ultimately, sending a cheque for $1.3 million to the City of Nanaimo.”
On the flip side, Geselbracht the biggest disappointment for him was watching CruisePlus’ rezoning application get rejected by councillors.
“I think we had a chance to commence a revitalization of downtown and to have a new commercial entity with residential and clean up that corner and we lost 40 jobs in Lantzville,” he said. “So, yeah, that was a big disappointment.”
The biggest challenge during those three years, Geselbracht said, was five-hour council meetings. He said there was a lot of “senseless regurgitation” of opinions during many of those meetings.
Geselbracht said council accomplished and overcame a lot during the last three years and that it was a rewarding experience. He said he’d like to be part of the next council and believes people should vote for him because of his three years of political experience, 40 years of experience as a lawyer and because he will “give you a good bank for your buck.”
To read interviews with other local government election candidates, click here.