Two horse race for mayor in Lantzville

It will be a race of two candidates in Lantzville's upcoming municipal election.

It will be a race of two candidates in Lantzville’s municipal election.

Incumbent Colin Haime will be challenged by Jack de Jong on several key issues, including the growing burden on Lantzville taxpayers, water supply concerns and the hot-button topic of urban farming on residential lots.

Haime has had his hands full over the past year with urban agriculture trying to find a workable solution that will satisfy local urban gardeners who claim the residential zoning bylaw is archaic and needs an update, but he points out that the municipality has achieved many of its goals over the past eight years.

“What we’ve done over the past eight years since we’ve incorporated is brought sewers to the community, we’ve got an agreement with regards to parkland in the foothills when and if anything ever gets subdivided up there, built the first section of the E&N Trail, and have continued to work on water supply, so in terms of the basic services that residents need we’ve continued to work on and achieve those,” said Haime, who is seeking his fourth consecutive term as mayor.

He added he expects to have the municipality’s water issue solidified in the next term, and points to the fact that that council has been able to provide necessary infrastructure without tax increases.

“We looked at reserves we have and we said from our standpoint in terms of planning we had adequate reserves so there was no need to build up any additional funds which resulted in a zero per cent tax increase,” he said.

De Jong has criticized council in the past for its growing burden to taxpayers through administration costs, saying that “every dollar spent for this activity is a dollar lost for infrastructure and maintenance work,” according to an open letter he sent to Haime in July after council voted to increase its remuneration by 100 per cent over a three-year period.

“Based on the projected 2011 Lantzville local tax revenues of $1.7 million and council’s total cost of $115,000, or 6.8 per cent, I believe you are now the most expensive council in B.C. based on local revenue and workload,” wrote de Jong.

De Jong said he would support a motion to reduce Lantzville’s council from seven people to five.

He has also said he supports residential farming and that residents should be encouraged, not dissuaded, from performing the practice.

Twelve people are running for District of Lantzville council. Incumbents running include Joe Bratkowski, Brian Dempsey, Warren Griffey, Denise Haime and Doug Parkhurst. Challengers include John Dunn, Jordan Gail, Michael Geselbracht, Jennifer Millbank, Andrew Mostad, Graham Savage and Jamie Wallace.