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ELECTION 2018: School District 70 board guaranteed to have new look

Two seats have been vacated, and parents step up to run for office

The Alberni Valley School District (School District 70) will have a new look once the 2018 municipal election is over, following the retirement of two trustees.

There will be two vacant seats to fill on the board, as longtime trustee Pat Dahlquist is retiring, and west coast representative Gurmail Aujla is not seeking re-election.

There are 13 candidates who have put their names forward for a total of seven seats this year.

Larry Ransom, who has been a school trustee with the Alberni Valley School District for a number of years and is a past board chair, is happy to see so much competition during this election.

“For two previous elections the board got in by acclamation; there was no election because no one would put their name forward,” Ransom said.

“I think it’s important that everybody votes, even if they live in the regional district, because their kids and their grandkids come to our schools in Port Alberni,” he said. “I think it’s important that they vote and support public education.”

Incumbents seeking re-election include Ransom, Rosemarie Buchanan, Pam Craig, John Bennie and Jane Jones.

New candidates include Cherilyn Bray, James Brook, Rebecca Standley, Karrine Magnussen, Christine Washington and Connie Watts.

Several of the new candidates, like Magnussen, Brook, Bray and Standley, are parents with children still in the school system, and say they think it’s important that the board have that connection to students.

“I’m running because I have three children in the district, and because I think it’s important we have parents on the school board making decisions about what happens in our education system,” Standley said.

“The reason I decided to run was to give parents a voice on the board,” says Bray, who has a teenager attending Alberni District Secondary School.

Chris Washington said she is running to give kids an all-inclusive, safe environment to learn “that reflects the needs of our children today,” she said.

Pam Craig, who is seeking re-election, grew up in Port Alberni, had two sons graduate from ADSS and now has four grandchildren attending school in SD70. “I have passion and drive to work for the young people of SD70,” she said.

On the west coast, Sandra Leslie and Sally Mole are both competing for the seat Aujla vacated.

Bamfield residents will be able to vote for a school district trustee candidate even though their Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District electoral area director, Bob Beckett, has already been acclaimed. A polling station will be set up for voters in that west coast community, ACRD electoral officer Wendy Thomson said.

Members of the public will have a chance to meet school trustee and ACRD candidates at a meet and greet on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 7–9 p.m. at Beaver Creek Community Hall. Many candidates are also holding their own events, which can be found on their election Facebook pages.

For information on who is eligible to vote, please refer to the regional district website at There is no voter list this year: voters will be required to bring two pieces of identification with them: at least one that shows the voter’s address, and at least one that shows their valid signature. Acceptable forms of identification include a B.C. driver’s licence, social insurance card, B.C. Identification Card, credit card, BC Care Card or Gold Care Card, property tax notice, ICBC vehicle insurance registration documents, utility bill, citizenship card. A combined B.C. driver’s licence and B.C. Care Card is considered one piece of ID.

Voting will take place Saturday, Oct. 20 with advance voting opportunities on Oct. 10 and 16.

The Alberni Valley News will be running candidate profiles online at in the weeks leading up to Oct. 20.

School District 70 trustee candidate Karrine Magnussen answers questions at the Sept. 25 meet and greet at the Italian Hall Events Centre in Port Alberni. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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