An opponent of two major development proposals in Lantzville is running for council with the knowledge that more development plans are in the works there.
Rachelle Mundell, a health-care worker who argued against the Clark-Medd and Village South developments, is one of seven people vying for election to District of Lantzville council.
Mundell used to be a member of the Lantzville Community Association that took the district to court to ask for a judicial review of the Clark-Medd decision, but has since resigned from the association.
She said she became politically involved when she and some of her neighbours around Clark-Medd felt that issues they brought forward and worries they expressed were “disregarded” by the current council.
“We weren’t against development, nobody once said, ‘no, don’t develop this area,’ but we were hoping to get some input into the process and that didn’t happen. Repeatedly, we were shot down,” she said.
Mundell felt the project’s density was out of line with the official community plan and thought it was a “cookie-cutter subdivision” that didn’t blend with surrounding neighbourhoods.
“Our character and values and lifestyle in Lantzville, it doesn’t match that, it won’t fit in well with that…” she said. “The reason that Lantzville became a municipality was to maintain that character that Lantzville has. It’s a bit distinct, a bit different than Nanaimo.”
Even though Village South failed on a tie vote late in the current council’s term, Mundell hopes development will still be an election issue as she said Village South is still in the works, along with a significant development near Superior Road.
“We want to keep people engaged as much as possible and aware that this is going to come back at some point in time and definitely land on council’s desk,” she said.
Aside from development, Mundell said the other big issue on voters’ minds seems to be taxes. She said money spent on district staffing has risen much faster that population growth, and said it will be important for the district to be able to work within a budget that the community can handle. She said if elected, she will recognize that any spending essentially means spending neighbours’ money.
Lantzville will have a very different council with three current councillors choosing not to stand for re-election, and Mundell thinks there’s the makings of a good council for the next four years.
“I actually am very optimistic with some of the other candidates who are running, just showing what they’ve demonstrated in the community,” she said. “Their commitment and the effort and engagement that they’ve put in is a really good indication, I think, of what we have coming in the next term.”