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Pro-governance review trustees win in Union Bay election

UNION BAY, B.C- Union Bay residents have voted in two new trustees this evening.

According to the unofficial vote result, candidates Paul Healey and Hein Vandenberg have won the two open seats on the trustee board of the Union Bay Improvement District.

The pair have been speaking in favour of a governance review for Union Bay, with the option of a merger with the Comox Valley Regional District, throughout the election. The aim of the merger woild be to secure sources of grant funding for infrastructure in the community.

Trustee Glenn Loxam had been running for re-election, along with new candidate Trina Gable. Neither had come out strongly in favour of a merger between the CVRD and UBID.

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The unofficial vote total is as follows:

Paul Healey 340

Hein Vandenberg 343

Glenn Loxam 260

Trina Gable 252

The newsroom spoke with Vandenburg and Healey after their win. Both were pleased with the news, and happy the campaign was finished.

According to Healey, there was a major lead for both Vandenburg and himself after the first advance poll.

“I think the biggest thing we learned is that people were not happy with how the meetings were being held, and how the existing people were running Union Bay,” said Healey.

“It’s such a unique community, but they were sort of doing their own thing, and not really getting people involved. People have spoken, they’re not happy about that.”

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Vandenburg said that people in Union Bay had wanted to see change.

“That’s what we offered,” said Vandenburg.

“It was already on offer before, in terms of a governance review, and people really clicked with that one, in terms of that’s what they want to see, a change, and they want to see positivity, not negativity. No one is against development, no one is against advancement, what we want to see is a controlled environment, and sustainability, financially, for the community.”

According to Vandenberg, both he and Healey hadn’t been running on a strict merger between UBID and the CVRD. He said they wanted to do a governance review to present options to the people of Union Bay, and that is the priority.

The other priority was to continue on with the construction of the new water treatment plant, protection of the community’s watershed, and ongoing work at the fire department.

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A letter to the provincial municipal affairs branch about a governance review will be sent “as soon as possible”, according to both trustee-elects.

“We ran on that platform, a governance review, and that’s what we’re going to carry, because people have definitely given us a clear majority that that is what they want to see,” said Healey.

“Right now, the CVRD does most of the stuff anyway. It does the building permits, it does everything else. Really, all we’re doing is trying to get rid of one layer of government, that really people don’t want to see, because we have this little kingdom. We want to get it down to something simpler.”

As for what they would say to the people who didn’t vote for them, Vandenberg said what they were trying to do was “get five trustees pulling on the same rope in the same direction”.

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“Hein did a great job of talking to Loxam and Trina and getting them to agree to a joint meeting, and the meeting had really good rules,” said Healey.

“So, hopefully we can carry on with the two trustees that are left there, and get the same sense of relationship and say “hey, we all want to work towards the same way”. We’ve got to work at trying to make that happen. We’ll see.”

Both trustee-elects thanked the people who helped with their campaigns and voted for them.

Hein plans for to go for a motorcycle ride tomorrow.

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