LANTZVILLE BYELECTION: Candidate questionnaire

NANAIMO – Candidates in the Lantzville byelection were asked for their responses to a series of questions posed by the News Bulletin.

The News Bulletin asked candidates in the Lantzville byelection a series of questions about their views on issues in the district.

An all-candidates’ meeting, organized by Lantzville Community News, will take place Aug. 1, 3-5 p.m., at Costin Hall, 7232 Lantzville Rd. The debate will be moderated by former Nanaimo city councillor Fred Pattje.

Advanced voting takes place Wednesday (July 29) and Aug. 5, while general voting is set for Aug. 8. For more information on general voting, please visit www.lantzville.ca.


Jennifer Bielewkski, 43, bookkeeper. Formerly in retail and wholesale sales, purchasing and management.

Why are you running for public office?

I plan to retire here in 25 years and want to love it the whole time. Lantzville’s residents need to have a say in how Lantzville moves forward and I see this as an opportunity to participate and encourage that to happen.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

The water agreement needs to be good for all the residents. Options need to be explored and the water agreement is one of those options.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Water. The agreement needs to complement Lantzville. We still need to explore the options available to Lantzville, especially now with the new well field report.

Official Community Plan. The village core needs to start moving forward. Small changes that can be accomplished while planning for the bigger ones that need to be done as well.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

From wages to projects, prioritize and make sure spending is efficient.

Apply for grants that will benefit any and all of our projects.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

The new council needs to listen, respect each other, and have a willingness to learn, cooperate and take responsibility.

And not just with each other, but with all the residents of Lantzville.


Bob Colclough, 58. Worked in engineering, construction and public works for public and private sectors. Lived in Lantzville since 1982.

After graduating from high school in Nanaimo, I took the civil engineering program at the B.C. Institute of Technology.  I worked for an engineering firm in Nanaimo for four years, then 15 years with the Lantzville Improvement District and RDN. In 1999 I started WR Colclough and Associates Ltd., a consulting company working in land use and development, branching out in construction as well in 2009.

Why are you running for public office?

I have always been active in my profession and my community, including the Applied Science Technicians and Technologists of B.C., Lantzville Volunteer Fire Department, Rotary Club of Lantzville, Nanaimo Credit Union, Nanaimo River Estuary Management Committee, to name a few. With my professional background and community experience I feel I have a lot to offer.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

The agreement not only gives Lantzville the additional supply it needs to see its Official Community Plan come to fruition, it gives the community a second source – should there ever be a with its current limited groundwater supply. Nanaimo water is not the answer; it is one component of a broader strategy to provide to those that want and need community water.  The strategy will determine when it is needed.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Developing a comprehensive long range plan for water supply is one, which needs to include broad public consultation, public education, a variety of conservation initiatives, and the utilization of all options over time.

The village core is another. I would work toward facilitating and supporting existing and potential businesses. I believe the community needs a variety of new housing options, particularly for young families, empty nesters and seniors.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

The district is in a very enviable financial situation, with no debt and relatively low taxes. My goal would be to maintain that position by doing only what is necessary, and doing it as effectively and efficiently as possible.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

Focus on the future.  Through open, healthy discussion, compromise and consensus, focus on making informed decisions based on what is in the communities best interest.


Mike Donald, 68, retired sheetmetal worker; owner/operator of commercial fishing vessel; resource industry mineral exploration.

Why are you running for public office?

The people of Lantzville deserve better than what they had. They need a council that will respect each other and the residents, and get on with the business at hand.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

Find common ground and ratify the agreement.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

To work with council in a manner that benefits the people to the best of my ability and restore the respect of the public office that candidates seek.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

Balance sheet of the district is in good fiscal shape. Balancing the budget for future priorities.

What needs to be done for the District of Lanzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

Respect, common ground, a good fiscal policy and move on. Time to put the past behind us.


John English, no age given.

Retired professional engineer with a successful career in international and national project and construction management. I have developed leadership experience and management skills delivering results on budget and on schedule, requiring an ability to resolve difficult technical, cultural and administrative problems, and building successful consensus in multicultural, multidiscipline teams.

As a Lantzville resident, I have been serving on the Lantzville Parks and Recreation Commission since 2011. Advocating connector trails, corridors and parks linking upper and lower Lantzville with Copley Ridge and our beaches; the Ware Road Connector Trail, the North Road /Knarston Creek Trail and bridges. I am promoting the development of a mountain bike skills training circuit and playground renovations in Rotary Park for our youth, and supporting the development of the Copley Ridge (Woodlot) Trail system for everyone.

Why are you running for public office?

Residents expressed their vision of Lantzville in various plans (e.g. OCP). I am a candidate because I’m concerned that the delays and disruption in our municipal governance are hindering progress in developing the city to the potential envisaged in these plans. These delays waste tax dollars, cause unnecessary expenditures, and allow capital costs to escalate. I have the experience and skills to help refocus energies to move forward in the implementation of these plans.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

Support an internal review of Memorandum of Understandings (Nanaimo Water, Foothills Development) to confirm that short- and long-term risks, costs and benefits are the best deals available for all residents and that the MOUs support our community plans.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Participate in developing an effective governance team of staff, councillors and volunteers dedicated to serving all residents of Lantzville.

Assist in refocusing and moving forward on implementing the Strategic Plan, Commercial Core Improvement Plan, and the Official Community Plan. Moving these plans forward requires additional secure water sources and an opportunity to increase our tax based revenue.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

Difficult decisions need a team effort to find a reasonable balance between needs, nice-to-haves, and available revenue. Good financial management requires reliable detailed estimates of costs, including a forecast of future costs. I will promote these procedures and monitor the costs on a timely basis.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

I believe in the value of face-to-face communication. I will promote regular, open town hall meetings to provide update information and to receive input directly from residents.


Richard Finnegan, 45, director of Finn and Assoc. Design Ltd.

Why are you running for public office?

Lantzville is facing many infrastructure improvement and maintenance projects. It is important to have a council with balanced expertise in technical and financials to represent the community in these decisions. I bring that unbiased technical experience and expertise to the city. I’m running to further my goals to provide community service and use the guiding principles of truth, fairness, goodwill and benefit to all concerned as my compass in all decisions on council.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

The water agreement that was signed between Lantzville and Nanaimo in September 2014 is designed to secure water supply for current and future development and to strengthen the cooperative relationship between these two districts. With the current drought conditions, water restrictions and forest fires that are occurring in the region it is time to move forward and to secure Lantzville’s water future as existing local aquifers and wells may also be affected by such dry conditions.

I do not want to reopen negotiations with the City of Nanaimo on this issue as a new Nanaimo council with new objectives, new problems and facing a water shortage may not offer us a connection again. I am open to amendments to the wording and terms if it provides clarification and flexibility to the residents. In short, the project should be given a target commencement date so that a certification of project completion can be issued to Nanaimo on a schedule that the city staff develops with the mayor and council.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

In order to tackle these issues without increased costs to current residents, Lantzville must connect to water offered by Nanaimo and support new development which increases its tax base, provides development fees, and provides infrastructure such as water reservoirs. At the same time, existing rural and agricultural aspects of Lantzville should be preserved by encouraging agricultural markets and business by improving bylaws and developing the village core to encourage buying local goods and maintain the unique character of the area.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

From my understanding, Lantzville is in a good financial position with no debt and $4 million in reserve. Purchases of equipment have come from reserves anticipating such expenditures as the new fire truck. There have been some necessary staff costs that have occurred and some questionable costly studies conducted but most of this was done as needed and in the best interest of the community. A major upcoming proposed  expenditure is the water connection to Nanaimo but this will be offset over time by connection fees paid by those that choose to connect to the service and by receiving benefits from developers in the form of fees, land title and infrastructure at their cost.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

Good governance is not a platform issue; it is a requirement to allow a council to have a process for making and implementing decisions. In order to have good governance on the Lantzville council, we will need to be accountable, transparent, responsive, equitable and inclusive. The council needs to follow the rule of law, be participatory, effective and efficient. These should be our goals to provide a professional approach to the issues of the municipality.


Will Wyn Geselbracht, 65, practising lawyer and orchardist.

Why are you running for public office?

I became embarrassed when seven intelligent persons did not appear able to carry on the normal business of the district. After speaking with several of the parties involved, I feel optimistic that I will be able to add my talents to continue making Lantzville the special place it is.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

Implement Nanaimo water agreement by constructing connecting pipeline down Lantzville road to have this emergency water supply. However, bring all major developers-in-waiting to the table to confirm how they can contribute to water supply and further development.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Water supply and future development.  The district should appoint a committee of several councilors as well as professionals within community to meet with developers with potential water supply and draft a multi-party agreement in accordance  with our OCP to enhance Lantzville’s water capacity and supply for the future.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

Ensure that no more is spent than is brought in through taxes and levies, and set aside sufficient money for future capital expenditures, such as for our volunteer fire department.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

Elect four more councillors, put the egos in the pocket and get on with it.


Warren Griffey, 54, security patrol, security consultant and private investigation field for 20 years.

Why are you running for public office?

I am a resident of Lantzville. Council has been divided into slate candidates that run on one issue, possibly two, committee of the whole meetings have deteriorated, regular council meetings have deteriorated, staff morale is at an all-time low. The citizens of Lantzville for the most part are embarrassed, put off, and genuinely upset by the resignation of individuals who committed to a four-year tem and at the first sign of trouble decided to resign. My intention is to bring back consistency and respect to council. I know I am not perfect but I learn and never quit.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

Lantzville needs to get going on the agreement for water. I can help with this process. I understand what needs to be done have been part of the first agreement with Nanaimo on an emergency water source. I also understand the order in which agreements are made. The community needs to be behind the agreement and therefore referendums are a necessary part of the process especially when the district is spending over $5 million. I will work hard to represent the District of Lantzville to get the best agreement possible for residents.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

We are a community of 3,600 people. I plan to bring back community values and critical thinking in order to achieve what the community desires. Some peace and quiet with minimal interruption to their day to day lives. Those will be my priorities.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

The last council voted to bring on a planner for a considerable amount of money with no water issue settled as well as sewer and other amenities. Putting the cart before the horse is not exactly what I would call good financial management and the district need to understand the constraints of the ever-shrinking dollar on families. The last council caused an additional $22,000 to be spent on this byelection. Not exactly where I want my tax dollars or yours to be going. I would have been content with council doing their jobs and working to build a strong and inclusive community.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

The turmoil in the community will pass, not exactly the best reputation, being the only municipal council with four councillors resigning, but we will survive and persevere as a community. Some suggest an amalgamation with Nanaimo. That is a position that I oppose and to those who stand at the forefront of such a suggestion I would like to remind them that communities are built over hundreds of years not 12.


Joan Moody, 67. Management positions in several national stock brokerage firms; various analyst positions with the Alberta Stock Exchange (nka TSX Venture Exchange); president/owner of Global Corporate Compliance Inc.; consultant, CAS Corporate Governance Services Inc.

In my capacity as a consultant and/or officer of such companies, I liaised with corporate lawyers, auditors, TSX Venture Exchange analysts and Alberta Securities Commission employees.  I attended board of directors meetings wherein I would contribute to decision-making process regarding various compliance decisions such as developing a business code of ethics.  I have been a  volunteer in a variety of different organizations that involved community work, swim clubs and golf clubs. Currently, a member of the Lantzville Mine Town Day Committee.

Why are you running for public office?

I would like to be involved in creating a community that I would like to live in. I do not have any affiliations with historical events or with any of the past or current councillors. I describe myself as ‘Switzerland’ in Lantzville politics. I am neutral and have no biases.  I believe I can offer a good alternative to current or past councillors. I believe in honesty and plain disclosure. I believe in listening so I can understand. I believe politics is issues not personalities.

How should the district move forward with the water agreement?

I believe Lantzville should move forward as soon as possible with the connection to Nanaimo so that the residents of upper Lantzville can connect to a safe and secure water system. A consultant will need to be hired to determine how to proceed and what financial resources are required. By connecting upper Lantzville to the Nanaimo water system, other residents in Lantzville who are not connected would be given the choice to connect plus other residents might have the opportunity to sub-divide their lands as additional water connections would be available in Lantzville.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

My priorities would be the revitalization of the village core and construction and maintenance of the appropriate infrastructure for sewer and water. I believe that the majority of councillors will have the same priorities and therefore these issues will be discussed as appropriate.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

I understand the district has a large reserve fund. I am not privy to confidential information regarding fiscal challenges that previous councillors may be aware of therefore I am not aware of any fiscal challenges.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

As my husband always tells me when I am frustrated, “build a bridge and get over it.” Therefore I hope all councillors will build a bridge and get over it.


Dot Neary, no age given. Career history includes retail management, training supervision and administration, small business owner.

A resident of Lantzville with a long history of public service, including 16 years leadership on Parent Advisory Councils and the District PAC; School Trustee 2008-14, served as board chairwoman and chairwoman on various standing committees; City of Nanaimo Social Planning and Advisory Committee; B.C. Trustees Association Legislative Committee; MCFD Regional Advisory Council; volunteer with Vancouver Island United Way and 2014 B.C. Summer Games.

Why are you running for public office?

I aim to make a meaningful and constructive contribution in my home community. I have no political affiliations and I believe my experience of community volunteerism and leadership will be a valuable asset as a member of council. I am committed to helping Lantzville grow as a socially, economically and environmentally healthy and sustainable community, not only for ourselves but for future generations.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

Infrastructure works are needed to facilitate the connection between the City of Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville before any residents may benefit from this alternate water source. The distribution, timing and cost implications of moving ahead with the necessary construction work needs to be analyzed. Start the process of planning for the implementation of the water agreement by engaging residents in consultation.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Continue to review water options and conservation measures, and develop policy and a plan of action. Start the process of planning for the implementation of the water agreement by engaging residents in consultation; analyze the distribution, timing and cost implications of moving ahead with the agreement and develop a plan.

Finalize and implement the succession plan for the Lantzville Fire Department.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

Lantzville finances are relatively healthy but as with most municipalities, the demand for services and infrastructure outweighs the means to pay. We need to provide services and infrastructure in the most cost efficient and financially sustainable manner, while keeping taxes low.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

Making use of the Relationship Enhancement Program, through the Labour Relations Board, as suggested by council, may be helpful. I am hopeful that a new council and senior staff team will result in a more positive and constructive group dynamic. Healthy relationships are foundational to the healthy and effective functioning of any group or organization so that is a major element to work on. As a school trustee, I gained great insight into the role of governance and the importance of due process. The common purpose of mayor, council and municipal staff is serving the community as a whole. Adversarial politics are divisive and despite, or perhaps because of our differences, council should be working to build consensus, through open, respectful dialogue and a great deal of collaboration involving all stakeholders.


Doug Parkhurst, 52, chartered professional accountant and owner of KMA Chartered Accountants Ltd. in Nanaimo.

My wife Jennie and I have three children.  Andrew, our oldest has graduated high school and will be attending university next year and study engineering.  Our two other children, Keltie and McKenzie just completed grades 8 and 5 respectively.

We moved to Lantzville nearly 20 years ago. We came to Lantzville because of its unique blend of rural and village lifestyle. We chose Lantzville as a place to raise our family.

I was an Improvement District Trustee from 1999 to 2003.  From 2003-11 I was a District of Lantzville councillor.

Why are you running for public office?

Like many residents, I have seen what has gone on in our district over the last six months.  It is time to put that behind us and start focusing on issues, not personalities.  I decided to run to get council back to work.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

The district should reach out to the City of Nanaimo to adjust the agreement in order to address flaws in the agreement.  My first fix would be to request the removal the restriction that water can only be for new development.  Lantzville has residents who need water now and council needs to help these families.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Keep taxes low. I will work to find every savings possible. No more pet projects I bring both knowledge and experience to council to keep taxes low.  I will ensure that developers pay for development, not residents.

Water for Lantzville residents first. Current residents come first for any water deal. Water should not be just for developers. I will work to adjust the water agreement to achieve this goal. Some wells run dry nearly every year. Helping our neighbours comes first.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

The district faces demands for new and ongoing services.  (e.g. new fire chief and planner). I will work with other members of council to find reasonable, cost-effective solutions, such as contracting out the planner position.

Another significant fiscal challenge is development. Having adequate planning and review work is necessary. I will work to ensure that this cost is covered by developers. Residents should not be asked to pay so someone else can benefit.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

The way to move forward is for each member of council to set the right kind of tone. The key is how the individual council member conducts himself or herself. If elected, I will treat my fellow council members and the residents of Lantzville with respect. It is common for differences of opinions to arise, but at the end of the night, leave it in the council room.


Peter Popperl, 38, corrections officer.

Why are you running for public office?

I am running for public office to get personally involved and to challenge others to do the same. I want to actively and positively influence Lantzville politics.  Also I want to model to my son how getting involved is important and rewarding.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

The water agreement should be revised and open to public discussion.  Overall the agreement is beneficial for Lantzville, however, my concern is what happens after the 20-year mark of the agreement. We should have some safeguards prior to the end of the 20-year period. Current Lantzville residents should be connected first before new developments.  The connections priorities should be based on immediate need.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

Public safety is a good investment.  Lantzville should have a career fire chief. There are too many responsibilities and tasks to be a volunteer position.

The downtown core is important.  The downtown core should be the talk of the town, not our politics.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

I believe that we should maintain a balanced budget while keeping property taxes from increasing.  In order to achieve the above we need to promote more people to Lantzville.  We should increase the tax base and not taxes. Lantzville’s population has been decreasing over time and we need to reverse that trend through development.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the municipality?

Lantzville City Hall should have a code of conduct that will outline and define proper workplace expectations. Through those expectations the municipality can move forward based on common understanding. Assuming the turmoil includes bullying and harassment there is WorkSafe B.C. legislation that speaks to those concerns.

As far as any other alleged turmoil some will be avoided by transparency. The public should be involved in the council’s activities as much as it demands.


Mark Swain, 40, physical rehabilitation and assessment.

I am a resident of Lantzville where I live with my wife Christine and our two children. Both my children attend Seaview School and our family is actively involved in the community. I am a coach for community soccer and fastball as well as my recent appointment to the Parks and Recreation Commission through the District of Lantzville.

I have a degree in kinesiology from Simon Fraser University and have been working in the field of physical rehabilitation and assessment for 17 years.

Why are you running for public office?

I believe Lantzville is an incredible place to raise a family which is the reason why I live here and now to want to serve as councillor.  I want council to move forward on current resolutions including the water deal and Foothills development.  Progress needs to be made on long-term issues that seem to be constantly under review or revision. I have no history nor connections to the current issues facing Lantzville and want to provide a fresh and straightforward voice on council.

How should the district move forward with the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement?

I stand for completing and implementing the water deal as it is.    This deal represents the best compromise between the needs of current residents and the needs of future development.      There is a common misconception that development is the priority in this water agreement.  Lantzville residents need more effective communication from council about this very serious issue and they need to know that their access to water does come before the needs of developers.

What are two of your priorities and how do you plan to tackle these issues if elected?

The water agreement needs to be implemented. All of Lantzville deserves access to a safe and secure water supply. Council needs to balance this with increased conservation measures throughout the district.

I support the Foothills development. I believe this development will not adversely impact the rural charm of our community and the increase in tax revenue from the Foothills project is needed to support ongoing infrastructure in Lantzville. We need those taxes to support initiatives such as the revitalization of the village core and fire services.

What are some of the fiscal challenges facing the district and how do you plan to manage them?

My first priority is to review district payroll and look for efficiencies.  Our district needs improved infrastructure and the only solution that doesn’t increase taxes for current residents is to increase the tax base.

What needs to be done for the District of Lantzville to move past its recent turmoil and get on with the business of the business of the municipality?

Without factual information about what has occurred, I can only speculate what lead to the turmoil. To suggest a solution based on rumour and speculation would be ineffective. Ultimately, I can only control my own behaviour and it is my personal commitment to the residents of Lantzville that I will behave professionally at all times and speak up if I see any disrespectful behaviour.

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