White Rock voters will get a chance to hear from council byelection candidates in a public forum after all.
While it appeared as if there would be no opportunity for candidates to woo voters in a public forum leading up to next month's council byelection, candidates will now get their chance on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
That's when the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce and White Rock Business Improvement Association will hold the only all-candidates forum for the current byelection, set for Saturday, Nov. 3.
According to Cliff Annable, executive director for the chamber, while the chamber doesn't normally hold all-candidates events for byelections, when he heard there was nothing being done he decided to make something happen.
"I said it was something the chamber and BIA should do to create more interest in the election, so I spent a bit of time looking for a location but there was nothing in White Rock available," said Annable.
However, when the City of White Rock learned of the chamber and BIA's idea, they gave up space it had rented at White Rock Elementary on Oct. 30.
Annable then recruited Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg as moderator and confirmed all nine candidates for the event.
"Everything came together, bang, bang, bang," he said. "Sometimes, you work like crazy and nothing falls into place and other times things just fall into place on their own."
For BIA executive director Sherri Wilson Morissette, the event provides an important service to the voters of White Rock.
"I think it's important for voters to come out and hear what the candidates have to say," she said. "There are a lot of key issues and discussions happening in and around White Rock and so voters need to make sure the best person is representing the community for the long term and is elected to council to be their voice."
In terms of format, Annable said he didn't have the details hammered out, but guessed it would be along the lines of each candidate making introductory statements, then they would answer questions from the floor before making closing statements.
The all-candidates byelection forum on Oct. 30 will take place at White Rock Elementary and is open to all members of the public.