It was an up-close and personal way to meet the candidates.
Speed Date A Candidate got underway at the Royal Hotel Tuesday night, and offered a truly interactive experience for the dozens of voters who showed up to chat with the council, mayoral, and trustee candidates.
Citizen Holly McKeen said it was time “well-spent” in a fun format.
“It was a terrific event and I would go each and every election cycle if it were put on again,” said McKeen.
It was likely the only chance voters had to meet trustee candidates in person.
“Getting that face-to-face engagement was just what we needed to add to researching candidates, and draw some conclusions,” McKeen added.
The speed-dating election event was the brainchild of Amber Price, Kim Mallory and David Swankey, one of the candidates.
“If you have ever seen a community come together for a good cause, this was it,” Kim Mallory posted after the speed-dating in three different room was complete. “We are so encouraged by the feedback we’ve received and the engagement that is happening here in Chilliwack.”
Speed-dating voters were armed with questions.
“The people who’ve shown up tonight to go through the forum are all the people who have destination questions,” said council candidate Terry Cross.
“They have come here to be informed, and to understand the candidates, and the direction they are going with city council for the next 10 years.”
Council candidate Sue Attrill said many who showed up wanted to talk about homelessness, addictions, and people tenting in local parks in Chilliwack.
“Clearly it is a huge issue for us; and a huge issue for council,” said Attrill, an incumbent candidate. “We’ve heard the message loud and clear and honestly, we’ve been working away on it for so long now. Just hang in there because I think we are going to see some relief by the middle of 2019.”
Council candidate Cam Hull also liked the format of the night.
“It is brilliant. It is absolutely fantastic,” said Hull. “I like the engagement process. I love the fact that people are coming with questions I may have not even thought of, but it’s important to them. I love that about it.”
Organizer Amber Price was chuffed by the success of the community-building aspect as well.
“From tip to tail, this event was created through a deep desire to bring people together to get down with democracy, and engage in community building,” Price posted. “What fun.”
But it more than fun.
“I feel like one of the most interesting dynamics of the evening was that all of the conversations that happened were private. Hundreds of connections were made, and they were meaningful, one-on-one interactions that only a couple of people got to be witness to,” Price added.
Next up is Oct. 10, an All-Candidates Forum for both council and mayoral candidates, hosted by Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society. The council candidates’ forum will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. There will be a 15-minute break, and then the mayoral forum will start at 8:45 p.m. and run to 10:15 p.m. Questions can be submitted in writing, or through pigeonhole.at with the passcode to be made available by organizers at the event.
Then on Oct. 11, Chilliwack voters will get another All-Candidates Forum hosted by the Chamber/BIA but this one is for mayoral candidates only, at the Cultural Centre from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Finally on Oct. 15, a chance in Yarrow from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m to hear from both mayoralty and council candidates. The Yarrow All-Candidates meeting will be held at the Yarrow Community Centre.
Advance voting days, are Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, at Chilliwack City Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
General voting day is Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.