Current Lantzville councillor Mark Swain wants to become mayor. NEWS BULLETIN photo

Lantzville councillor Swain hoping to become mayor

Mark Swain wants to ensure development follows the official community plan

A first-term Lantzville councillor is hoping he can take over the mayor’s chair.

Swain is one of three candidates vying for the mayor in the District of Lantzville. Swain is up against fellow councillor Bob Colclough as well as Stan Pottie, a local businessman. Current Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime has elected not to run in the upcoming election either as mayor or as a councillor.

Swain said one of the reasons why he decided to run was because he believes Lantzville is facing a lot of pressure to develop and is concerned that the vision of the community won’t be adhered to. Other key issues for Swain include development, water and good governance.

“Our community is going to be seeing a lot of development pressure over the next year or two, it has already started and I am terribly concerned about that,” Swain said. “I want to make sure that our community vision is actually followed as reflected in our official community plan.”

Swain said he wants to bring the community into the development process earlier on and ensure that whatever development does occur in Lantzville meets the OCP. He said it bothers him that a developer has submitted a development application that would see nearly 100 homes built on half-acre lots near the village core, adding that the application goes against the spirit of the current and revised official community plan.

“Within that development application there is nothing in there for seniors’ housing, nothing in for the variety of housing, it’s just simply half-acre lots. That is not reflected in our current OCP, nor is it reflected in our revised OCP that is hopefully going to be implemented in 2019,” Swain said. “As mayor, one of my first steps would be to reach out to the developer and start building some collaboration between council, the community and the developer to essentially move towards the achieving the goals of the OCP, the vision. They don’t want see half-acre lots.”

With the Lantzville-Nanaimo water agreement triggered, Swain wants the community to move forward with water, but in a united way. He said he wants there to be “one municipal water system, one Lantzville.”

At the moment the cost of getting water to residents at the moment will vary by neighbourhood, said Swain, adding that he doesn’t like the idea of some neighbourhoods paying more for water, while others get to pay less.

“That doesn’t seem fair,” Swain said. “I think we need to create fairness.”

During his time on council, Swain voted against a rezoning application submitted by a travel company that was looking to expand a commercial office into a mixed-use building in Lantzville. Swain said he has no regrets about his decision to vote against the application from CruisePlus, which has since relocated to Nanaimo.

“The current zoning is one unit per housing per commercial building and in the 2005 OCP it supports that and in the revised OCP that is coming out, it is still in line with that,” he said. “I felt the ask, or what the developer wanted, was not in keeping with the OCP. So it was pretty simple from that standpoint.”

Should he become mayor, Swain said he would like to see councillors work together in a more positive manner, adding that if council is divided all the time then the community as a whole is divided all the time.

“We need to build cohesiveness and we need to be more collaborative in our approach to moving things forward,” he said. “That’s going to take some work. But I think I am one individual that has proven himself multiple times that I am capable of the independent thought and capable at looking at each issue as an individual issue and having an open mind and by leading by example, hopefully our new council will follow suit.”

Swain said other priorities for him include finding a solution for Knarston Creek and Woodlot 1475. He said he’s not a one-issue councillor and he won’t be a one-issue mayor if he’s elected. He said he wants to be a mayor that is open, available and listens to the concerns of the residents.

“It’s about listening to the residents and reflecting what the residents want to see happening in their community,” he said. 
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