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

Four Surrey students head to New Brunswick for Canada-wide science fair

Three projects move to nationals following regional fair at KPU

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Easter ‘eggstravaganza’ event planned for South Surrey

Event is to run from 12-3 p.m. at Dufferin Park (17355 2 Ave.).

Surrey resident says proposed apartment building is a ‘monstrosity’ in Whalley neighbourhood

Philip Galbraith says he voted for Safe Surrey Coalition to ‘slow down development’

Update: Surrey Mounties found missing man

Kuldip Sandhu, 41, had been reported missing

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

VIDEO: Giants draw first blood in Western Conference championships

In Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between Vancouver and Spokane, the G-Men emerged triumphant

Multiple people injured after deck collapses during celebration

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Rats available for adoption in Vancouver

In a social media post the City of Vancouver says you can adopt a rat for $5.

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Crews battle Burnaby blaze; 2 people sent to hospital

Emergency Support Services helping residents displaced by fire

Most Read