Ritu Khanna took over as executive director of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce this month. (File photo)

Business groups announce public debates for mayoral candidates only

White Rock councillor candidates to speak at members-only event

Peninsula business organizations are hosting four all-candidates meetings prior to the Oct. 20 civic elections, however the public will only be invited to the two that host mayoral hopefuls.

On Oct. 3 at Morgan Creek Golf Club, Surrey mayoral candidates will be invited to speak; and on Oct. 12, White Rock mayoral candidates are to meet at the White Rock Community Centre.

Two other all-candidates meetings – for White Rock council hopefuls – will be held exclusively for South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce and the White Rock BIA.

New chamber executive director Ritu Khanna confirmed Friday morning that the chamber and BIA have booked Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 at Centennial Hall (14600 North Bluff Rd.) for business members to hear from councillor and mayoral candidates, respectively.

“I think it makes sense to have a business one separate, because there’s so many concerns for the business community, and then a separate one for… community-related issues, broader issues,” Khanna explained, describing the election as “pivotal… across the Greater Vancouver area.”

Invitations to the members-only meetings were sent to candidates late Thursday afternoon, and Khanna acknowledged she received some negative feedback regarding the exclusive events.

Factors in the decision – in addition to a desire to provide business owners with focused opportunities to put their concerns to candidates – included venue capacity, the number of candidates running and ensuring fairness to candidates and attendees alike, she said.

“We’re basically doing our best,” Khanna said.

“We know that the business community has issues they need to be addressed by the potential candidates so we wanted them to have that forum. Because there are so many councillor candidates, it doesn’t make sense to do mayors and councillors (together). You don’t really effectively get to hear what they stand for and what they represent.

“The purpose is, really, to have all the issues addressed for the community, and if we did one with business and broader community issues, that wouldn’t happen, because the time is limited and there’s lots of candidates.

“I don’t think that’s doing service to the community – or candidates.

“We don’t want to hear soundbites.”

Format of the meetings is still being determined, as are attendees. All meetings are set for 6:30-8:30 p.m., with doors to open at 6 p.m.

Khanna said that at the Oct. 12 mayoral meeting, councillor candidates will be invited to introduce themselves at the end of the forum, and a meet-and-greet opportunity with all of the candidates will follow.

Pre-registration is being done for the members-only events.

A fifth, previously announced meeting for White Rock candidates, hosted by the Peninsula Homeless to Housing task force, is also set for Oct. 9, at the Church of the Holy Trinity at 7 p.m.

READ MORE: White Rock all-candidates forum planned for Oct. 9

Khanna said the chamber and BIA have reached out to the task force regarding a councillor-candidates-only forum for the general public.

Task force officials were not immediately able to comment.

Candidates have until 4 p.m. today (Friday) to file their nomination papers.

Voters go to the polls on Oct. 20.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey hair salon joins sustainability initiative

Hair can be used to create boom to clean up oil spills: Green Circle Salons

White Rock breaks temperature record

B.C. city was the hottest in all of Canada

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

VIDEO: Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Most Read