A long-time Qualicum Beach resident said she believes her experience with organizations such as the chamber of commerce and the Parksville-Qualicum Foundation will help make her an effective councillor, if elected.
Sarah Duncan said making housing more affordable is key to attracting young people to the town and is important because of the large number of people getting close to retirement.
“We need [young people] to be part of our community. We need them to be our healthcare workers, our lawyers, our grocery clerks, our bankers,” she said. “And the way it is right now, if we don’t grow, there’s not going to be anywhere for them to live.”
She said development is important and can be done while maintaining the town’s tree canopy.
“I don’t think it should be a free for all,” said Duncan, who has lived in Qualicum Beach for nearly 30 years. “It should be careful and considerate, but I do think that it’s important because we are growing.”
She has been on the chamber of commerce board of directors for five years and has been chair for the last two. Duncan also spent five years on the Parksville-Qualicum Foundation board.
“I loved that we were able to give back to our community, to give grants, to help engage people in the community,” she said.
Duncan said one highlight was a neighbourhood small grant program aimed at combating loneliness by organizing micro-community events, such as a community park party for kids and discussing emergency preparedness.
Campaigning during a pandemic will be challenging, but she said she will connect with residents through email, phone calls and Zoom.
“I think people are really aware and they want to make an informed decision, as they should and so I’m just doing my best to get out and talk to people on the streets,” said Duncan. “They’re excited for change.”
Qualicum Beach’s byelection will be held May 15, but there will be advanced voting opportunities on May 5 and 12. For more information on how to cast a ballot, visit the town’s website. Stay tuned to Oceanside News’ Qualicum Beach byelection page for more coverage.