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632 Main St., PO Box 249

2018 Tofino Municipal Election

Find information on the upcoming municipal election, October 20th, 2018. Read the candidates statements, check out upcoming election events and find out if you are eligible to vote!

When to vote: October 20th, 2018, 8am-8pm (advance voting takes place on October 10th, 8am-8pm)

Where to vote: Municipal Council Chamber, located at 380 Campbell Street


Candidate Statements

Listed in the order received

Candidates for the Office of Mayor:

Josie Osborne

I'm running for re-election as mayor of Tofino because I love this community, and I believe I have the skills, experience, and persistence to do the job a mayor needs to do. In late 2012, I put my name forward to take on the work of being mayor because I thought we needed leadership that was energetic, communicative, optimistic, and team-oriented. We still need this leadership.

Over the past two municipal terms, I’ve pushed up my sleeves and gotten to work on the nuts and bolts of good municipal governance from facilitating effective, respectful meetings and pushing for more and better civic engagement, to communicating widely about District initiatives and Council decisions. As a mayor should do, I’ve worked hard to build trust and relationships within and beyond Tofino to effectively represent our community, work towards reconciliation with First Nations, and achieve regional needs such as high-speed internet and the re-establishment of the Tofino hospital helipad.

Tofino is both a small village and an international tourism destination. How do we prosper and thrive without compromising the very reasons we live here? It is vital that Tofino has a respected mayor who works well with Council and staff, builds bridges between the different parts of our community, and advocates to all levels of government for what Tofino needs – from infrastructure and affordable housing to recycling and recreation. I look forward to serving Tofino alongside a passionate Council, a dedicated and professional staff, and a caring community to ensure a bright future for us all.

Jarmo Vanalainen

In days past when Tofino was an outcropping on the edge of the continent, it was necessary to have a community decision making body which optimized the power and promoted the success of whomever was in control, whomever provided the jobs.

We no longer have a single source economy. A focussed nuclei of power and control is no longer appropriate. We are a complex group of individuals with diverse interests. Some of us have local roots going back millennia, others just weeks, but whether you hang out with surfers, foodies, accommodation providers, wedding service providers, fish farms, whales, bears, birds, mariners, parks personnel, the district office, eel grass, sport fishers, fish guides, medical services, churches, co-op, waiters, cooks, fire protection, law enforcement, and any and all others, it is time to come together and interact to collectively choose what our future looks like.

This is especially important at this time, as due to the sharing economy, we have many important and challenging choices to make about how, how much, how fast and in what way to adapt. The most pressing election issue is that of making our district government a harmonizing tool for collective decision making.

Going forward, we must evaluate our decisions with the question, “what purpose is served”, and make sure the primary purpose always aligns with our collective will. We are a very diverse force of over of 1900+ committed souls with the wealth and energy to solve our housing needs, treat our sewage and more.

If I am mayor, I will vigorously promote this.

Chamber Hosted Events

Did you miss the All-Candidates Meeting on Tuesday, Oct 2nd at the Community Hall? Check out the live-feed video! Hear from all the candidates on many different issues affecting our community, as well as what they plan to bring to the table if they are elected. Get informed!

Click here for video.

*due to technical difficulties the video does cut out at 1hr & 37mins

The Candidates Breakfast has been postponed! Please stay tuned until a new date is announced.


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Candidates for the Offices of Councillor:

Tom Stere

Living in Tofino for the past 30 years has provided me with a broad understanding of the challenges and benefits, both current and ongoing, of our growing community.  I currently work as a Rescue Specialist with the Canadian Coast Guard Station in Tofino and am married with two sons. I am committed to keeping Tofino a vibrant, livable and environmentally responsible community for all residents and to ensuring the core services that municipal government provides are delivered responsibly and efficiently. To accomplish this, I feel we need to focus upon the following:

  • Create and maintain adequate infrastructure, for current and projected future use, regarding water and wastewater treatment needs and ensure the most appropriate financing mechanisms are utilized.

  • Work with private, non-profit, Provincial and Federal government to create concrete solutions within a realistic time frame to address Tofino’s housing issues.

  • Continue to enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages by providing arts and recreational opportunities for the community through programming, facilities, parks, playgrounds and community events.

  • Maintain support for our emergency management systems. Resources and training are required for this essential service to the community.

In the past years I have come to realize the importance of giving back to our community and residents.  I have served on the Emergency Management Executive Committee, Tofino Recreation Commission, Parent Advisory Committee, and a variety of volunteer committees and would like to use my experiences, knowledge and collaborative team approach to find practical solutions for the issues facing Tofino.

Britt Chalmers

I am running for Tofino Council primarily to represent my generation, and the younger families in this town. I want to be a voice that listens to the community and represents the future, while honouring the history and foundation that makes this community so special.

This is the first time I will have served as a Councillor and, if elected, am eager to take the time to learn and be as effective as possible.  Council is a democratic process and my vote would be one of seven.  Mostly, I would like to help direct the council forward, to make decisions and make sure we get to action quickly.

Rather than make empty campaign promises now, I prefer to commit to listening to as many voices as possible and to doing my best job.  Here are three of the issues I am particularly interested in:

  1. Council needs to take a hard look at Tofino’s tourism capacity and evaluate the impact of tourism on all aspects of the community.

  2. We need to focus on infrastructure basics; roads, water, parking, recycling and composting, as well as our emergency services from the volunteer fire department to our emergency planning and aging hospital. 

  3. We all know a solution to affordable housing is needed if we are going to continue to attract and keep young families here and thrive as a vibrant community.

Duncan McMaster

The main reason that I am running for re-election is because I want to maintain the focus on affordable housing and infrastructure issues. I am very concerned that Tofino may become unaffordable for many residents.

There are many “cans” that have been kicked down the road for many years: affordable & workforce housing, Liquid Waste Treatment (LWT), water supply, parking and road improvements. It is not all about projects and buildings, rather it is about our town becoming more responsive, accountable and innovative while being fair and impartial in all our dealings.

Unfortunately, the solution to many of the above issues comes at considerable cost. The estimated cost for LWT is now four times greater than the original estimate. If the town is successful in obtaining an infrastructure grant the town’s share will still be $16MM. Aside from exhausting the town’s borrowing power this is something the average taxpayer cannot afford. The next council must continue to lobby both levels of government for greater access to the considerable tourist tax dollars.

It may not seem much, but strides have made with regard to affordable housing in the past year. We now know what and where we can build on DL 114. In addition we have identified another potential site for affordable housing, off Sharp Road. Although these projects will ultimately be reliant on government funding, the future council must remain focused on making more affordable housing available.

Eric Kingsley

This letter is an attempt to express why I have chosen to run for a seat on city council.

I think my story is pretty similar to many in Tofino. I was traveling the Island for the first time and one way or another I found my way to this cute little town on the very edge of the Country. I spent a season living and working here but couldn’t stay because of other commitments. During the entire time I was gone, thoughts and memories of Tofino were all that occupied my mind. The thing that tickled my heart the most though, wasn’t the beaches or the rainforest or the food or the surf but the community, the people. I was (and still am) impressed about how much people genuinely care about each other and the town itself. I returned to Tofino and was graciously welcomed back by a group of people I have grown to love and care for.

I am running for a seat on city council in the hopes of representing the Tofino that I know. A community of hard working, tight knit people who want to be proud of where they live. If elected I will focus on communication and action. Let the people of this town have an honest say in how things play out. This means open conversations about current and pending issues facing everyone who lives here but it needs to be accessible to anyone. I would strive to organize informal gatherings, celebrations and face to face meetings so more voices can be heard. Once we decide on the direction we want to go, I would encourage and facilitate the process at Council. This means doing the research to understand our options and working with transparency to easily report back to the community what actions were taken during council meetings.  

Chris Heisterman

I’m incredibly grateful to have lived a majority of my life here in Tofino. After studying Business Administration I decided to try out Tofino for just one summer. As the story goes, I fell in love with our community and knew I needed to work hard to call this place home. I was dedicated to building a comfortable life here in Tofino for myself, and perhaps even a family one day.  I can say that I understand how much hard work, dedication, frugalness, and help it takes to make Tofino home. I currently work as a server, guesthouse owner, and all around entrepreneur. 

I want to work with fellow councillors and mayor so that we can help others to have the same opportunity that I have been fortunate enough to have. It’s only getting more difficult for individuals and families to become rooted here. Housing is an important and expensive issue that casts a shadow over every other important topic. Other aspects of our community that need increased attention in addition to housing include:

  • Environmental Issues. We all fell in love with Tofino because of its natural beauty. We need to preserve and protect it! And show it as a shining example for the world.

  • Collaboration with Indigenous Communities. We only stand to benefit when we work together.

  • Safety. We all know someone who has been injured on the bike path. Let’s work on increasing visibility!

Andrea McQuade

Right now is a pivotal moment in the political and social landscape of our town, and I’m excited at the prospect of making decisions with Tofitians about where we’re going. I want to care for that landscape all the way down to its roots, preserve its natural beauty, and keep families and future generations engaged and thriving in Tofino. 

I’m running because I believe municipal governments role is not to curtail progress, but to protect and help guide it into alignment with the values of the people of Tofino. What is at issue for me is the balance between the life of our economy and the life of our town, and bridging the gap between tourism and community. Doing so successfully means helping craft thriving businesses and community infrastructure that support each other.  I am running to help build that bridge and do that work. 

I know that all of Tofino deserves a strong voice and a council that represents them and acts in an accountable, balanced and thoughtful way. I am running to help to channel our growth while retaining the character and heart of a town we cherish so deeply. 

I believe I can provide the balanced perspective, the strong voice and the enthusiasm for all of Tofino that will propel us from this pivotal moment forward, together.

Stephen Ashton

I am running for council with the goal of making Tofino a better place to live for those that make this their year round home. One of the biggest issues facing Tofino is affordable housing. Clearly, this and previous councils have failed to find a meaningful solution.  I would propose thinking outside if the box and form a committee of citizens that have a two year mandate to get shovels in the ground for 50 small house plots.  

I am also a big supporter of Arts and Culture in a community. Non profits, and cultural events enrich our lives. A community without a strong arts and culture is a community without a soul. 

Lastly, I will be respecting Tofino’s  unofficial non use of political signs. They are an unfortunate visual blight and create an uneven playing field. 

Dorothy Baert

Building on the past years of experience,  there is much that I want to continue and feel able to work on for my community. 

The Liquid Waste Treatment plant is needed but a community of 2000 - 3000 resident taxpayers should not be paying for it.  I will continue to lobby at every opportunity that higher levels of government must pay 100% of the capital cost. We will be paying for the ongoing operations and we need a tax tool to ensure that visitors who use our infrastructure are contributing to its maintenance.  I have been advocating and lobbying for a 1% additional tax on visitor activities and services to be used for workforce housing, infrastructure and environmental costs. 

Tourism impacts on our community need oversight through an advisory body comprised of community and industry members. My efforts are focused on creating tools to ensure that tourism enhances our quality of life and does not continue to diminish it as many fear is happening. 

I will continue to work for strengthening our economic opportunities, including support of the ‘creative’ economy, understanding the needs of small business operators and helping the municipality improve the environment to conduct business. 

I am fully committed to the creation of affordable housing as a way to build community stability and resilience and to do it in a way that is a net neutral cost to taxpayers. 

The more I work in service to Tofino the more I want to do though, if the community chooses for me to continue, this will be my last term.

Stephanie Hughes

I am running because I believe in contributing to our community in a way that is solution based, inclusive and respectful.  Conscious governance on all issues I believe is the way forward, it reflects the diversity and spirit of our thriving coastal town.

The main issues that will be a focus for me should I be elected are:

  • Affordable Housing-Continuing to make this a priority.  Affordable housing both rental and owned is necessary in the short term and long term planning for Tofino.

  • Small Business Support and Development-We need to find creative ways to identify and diversify business opportunities in our region.  Support of entrepreneurs and youth in business will ensure that future generations will be able to thrive here.

  • Support for Arts and Culture- Arts and Culture is a direct reflection of community health.  It is the legacy of excellence in human achievement that we have the honour of passing on to generations to come.

  • Support for Species and Ecosystem Diversity in our region- We are so fortunate to live in a place that provides clean air, water, and land.  Stewardship initiatives are vital to our health and the health of all species that call this place home.

 Al Anderson

I am a local business person with two businesses in Tofino for about twenty years. Before that I worked in the hospitality industry in many roles. I have lived in Tofino for over thirty years now and have served on council for 17 years, three of those as mayor. My experience on council includes serving on the Alberni-Clayquot Regional Board, Vancouver Island Library Board, and Central Region Board. I also serve on many committees of council.

I am interested in seeking reelection to bring my experience and knowledge to the operations of the District of Tofino and to further the work of the current council in attainable housing, economic development, infrastructure planning and upgrading. My vision for Tofino is one that supports a strong arts and culture sector and acknowledges its heritage with respect for the traditional territories where we make our lives and livelihood. New initiatives I would like to tackle are a service standards review and improving our response to climate change. I am in strong support of a new library and a recreational facility.

Craig Heber

Tofino Council needs CHANGE .. It needs #BLT .. Balance Legality & Transparency.

Real priorities, views & needs of residents isn't reflected in Council decisions or planning. Special interests have dominated policy for more than a decade, inhibiting short & long term policy from adequately leveraging expansion & growth to finance infrastructure and other challenges these changes predictably cause.

Council's failure to be ready for Cannabis legalization .. It's opportunities as new revenue stream while raising taxes for Sewage plant is a perfect example. Councillors have said they 'had no time to prepare' for legalization ..Others virtued signaled with 'family values' & 'protecting the kids' ignoring the 50%+1 views last June. Councils decision to ban cannabis retail & production including medical preserves black market status quo and prevents Tofincians from enjoying the windfall and benefits that full legalization is designed to provide.

Housing a problem when I moved to Tofino in 2005, has turned into a crisis due to increased Tourism, AirBnB & Vacation Rentals conversions. Creating conditions for affordable rentals & homes requires utilizing GREEN small homes policy to retain the vibrant community that exist while maintaining its status as a International preferred destination.

I possess the education, experience, creativity and ability to innovate to solve and seize opportunities that will assist all Toficians. I believe in 50%+1, protecting the environment & Biosphere, addressing climate change & policy based on facts not ideology. I believe Tofino's revenue streams need rebalancing, focus on cost cutting and creative financing to reallocate budget to address long term realities

Jason Brown

As a newer resident to Tofino having only lived here a little over 2 years some may wonder why I am running for council.  

Two years ago I made the decision to plant my roots and call Tofino my home. 

The biggest but not the only reason I chose Tofino was surfing.  I also chose Tofino because of the community and how much it has to offer in culture and nature. Having spent the past year employed at a locally owned family business I've had a chance to learn more about the roots of the community and the many ways it supports itself. 

Learning more about the issues affecting our community, my decision to run as a councillor came from a desire to contribute as well as offer a fresh perspective.

One of the most important issues I would hope to address would be affordable housing something that not only affects me personally but an issue that I believe is long overdue to be addressed. I would continue to support the projects currently under way such as Sharp Rd and DL 114.  

I believe this is important to keep Tofino affordable for the average resident and ensure Tofino remains a place to raise a family.

As well I believe it is of great importance that we strive for a sustainable tourism economy that can continue to flourish but not encroach on the everyday lives of residents.  

My goal as a councillor will be to approach every issue with an open mind and find beneficial solutions for our community to ensure a prosperous future.