Pemberton council shot with blanks at all-candidates meeting 

Incumbents extol record they're proud of, fend off criticisms


Pique, Nov. 3, 2011

In any election, the incumbent politician is placed on the defensive. They must account for decisions made while in office.

Pemberton resident Rebecca Craig put her council on the defensive Oct. 26 when she attended an all-candidates meeting that drew about 200 people to the Cottonwood Community Centre.

The co-owner of Cedar View Estates, a bed and breakfast and agricultural property located on the Pemberton Meadows Road, she asked incumbent Councillor Ted Craddock whether he would reverse a decision in April to disallow weddings at their property, events that could not be held there under its zoning.

"For those of you who don't know, in our first year of business, we had 14 weddings, we employed over 25 people and generated over $250,000 of revenue for the Pemberton businesses and tourism sector," she said.

"My first question is to Ted Craddock who is the only remaining council member who voted against our application. Would you choose to change any decisions that you have made over the past three years? If so, why?"

Craddock's answer was simple: "Speaking specifically to Cedar View, no, I would not change my decision," he said.

"I want to thank the Craig family for helping keep those events in the community. They worked hard with the other operators who are able to legally work with those businesses, so for you and your family, thank you.

"As far as supporting what was going on, no, I can't support that."

And the audience applauded him loudly.

Craig tried to ask a follow up question, pointing out that the Cedar View decision was ranked in Pique's "Best of Pemberton" (Pique Sept.29,2011) survey as the worst one taken by council, but moderator Paul Selina cut her off before any candidates could answer.

The rest of the meeting was taken up with incumbent councillors praising their work over the last three years, and a group of candidates looking to take their first stab at public life.

Al LeBlanc, the other incumbent running for council, took a populist approach, remarking on what a "good-looking group" was running for election this year.

"What has happened since three years ago?" he said. "I'm three years older, with a little less hair and that distinguished grey look."

He stressed the advances Pemberton has made when it comes to recreation. When LeBlanc ran in 2008 he made youth a central plank of his campaign.

The current council saw a skate park, a bike park and a water-spray park go up during its tenure, alongside other amenities including a new bridge over Pemberton Creek, the One Mile Lake Nature Centre and a seniors' centre that's expected to open in February.

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