Kevin Pearson, right, participated in the last speed-dating event during an unsuccessful run for office in 2018. Pearson will once again be on the ballot in 2019 and will be at the speed dating forum. (Tim Collins/Sooke NEws Mirror)

Transition Sooke to host second ‘speed-dating’ election forum

The event gives residents a chance to meet candidates

Transition Sooke is building on the success of a format it introduced last year to once again give Sooke residents a chance to meet the candidates running in this fall’s civic byelection.

The speed-dating style all-candidates forum comes in the run-up to the the upcoming byelection and mirrors a similar forum hosted by the organization prior to the 2018 municipal election. That event gave groups of residents a chance to meet the candidates face to face and ask them specific questions about their plans for Sooke.

The time that residents have with each candidate is limited, however, with participants having only a few minutes to pose their question and get an answer before moving on to the next candidate.

“We’re still getting positive feedback about our last speed-dating event,” said Bernie Klassen of Transition Sooke.

“Both candidates and attendees thought that our format was more helpful for them than the town hall meeting style where all the candidates are on stage at the same time. It’s far more personal.”

RELATED: Speed dating a hit in 2018

Klassen said Transition Sooke’s format allows people to approach candidates in a focused manner with prepared questions regarding the issues that they view as most important.

Sooke Coun. Tony St. Pierre participated in the last meet and greet in 2018. He said he found the event to be a great opportunity for learning and more valuable than the standard town hall meetings.

“I thought that the event was absolutely worthwhile, particularly for newcomers to Sooke,” St. Pierre said.

“How can they get to know the candidates at a local level? That event let people get to know me and what I stood for.”

St. Pierre said the one-on-one contact during the event gave him a good sense of what people’s issues were and taught him a lot about the issues in Sooke.

“My only suggestion to Transition Sooke is that they have more of them (the forums). After the one in 2018, I know there were some people who had missed the first event that wanted another opportunity and who were disappointed.”

The speed-dating all candidates forum is scheduled for Sept. 15, between 2 and 6 p.m.

The event will take place at the Sooke Community Hall and residents need only show up to be part of the process.

The byelection is for the seat left vacant by the death of Brenda Parkinson in last June.

Voting will take place on Sept. 28 with advance polling happening Sept 18 and 25.

Anyone with questions regarding the event can email Transition Sooke at ebklassen@gmail.com.

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