PHOTO: Bob Wells and his wife, Michelle
Bob Wells says he has the experience and consensus-building skills that the City of Courtenay needs in its next mayor. He asks voters to look at his accomplishments, not the rhetoric of his opponents.
For Courtenay mayoral candidate Bob Wells, the 2018 election should be decided on a single issue: proven leadership experience.
With several multi-million dollar infrastructure decisions facing the city over the next several years — water, sewer and solid waste projects — Wells says voters should put their trust in his accomplishments, not in his opponents’ rhetoric.
“Whether it’s business or community service, I excel at what I do,” he told Decafnation. “It’s what I’ve accomplished that separates me from the other candidates.”
Wells points to his leadership on the Comox Valley Regional District’s water committee, which he chairs. The committee has approved a $110 million Comox Valley Water Treatment Project to upgrade water quality for about 45,000 residents of Courtenay, Comox and some adjacent areas.
“There wasn’t consensus at first about how to meet the health department’s requirements,” he said. “But I was able to build that consensus and move things forward.”
Wells also notes his work on the Courtenay Youth Music Centre board that saved the non-profit by “turning it around” financially, and delivering a favorable resolution to the Maple Pool controversy, which was a campaign issue for him in 2014. Although he concedes the latter was something “council did together.”
He mentions his involvement in Rotary, Start Up Comox Valley, Dawn to Dawn and Island Music Fest.
“And as vice-chair of the regional district, I’ve helped shape the agenda, and I’ve been effective at utilizing that opportunity,” he said.
He says it’s this depth of experience that sets him apart from opponents David Frisch and Erik Eriksson. All three announced mayoral candidate have served one full-term on council.
“In the first 30 days, the mayor will face decisions on water treatment and sewage pump station issues,” Wells said. “I’m ready for these challenges, Frisch and Eriksson are not.”
He said with more experience, Frisch would make a great mayor in eight years.
Wells feels unfairly criticized for what some have called an erratic voting pattern. Wells admits he’s a “swing vote,” but insists he decides his vote on “what’s best for the community.”
“I’m not strident in my perspective like some others,” he said. “I haven’t already made up my mind. I take time to investigate both sides. The community is more divided than that.”
And the candidate says he fully respects differences of opinion.
“As mayor, if council voted for something, I would run with that,” he said.
On housing issues, Wells says as mayor he would steer the city toward a strategy for increasing the stock of rental units, which he thinks will require partnerships with other agencies and developers.
He’s argued for homeless coalition funding, supported the inventory of city-owned properties and personally volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
Wells believes he takes a holistic view of the community. More information and feedback results in better decisions and a capacity to enlist support, he says.
But on election day — Oct. 20 — Wells says voters should ask themselves “who’s proven they can get things done.”
“Honestly, if I didn’t see a big divide there (between him and the other candidates), I would support one of them,” he said. “There’s a lot coming down in the next four years, and the city needs someone with proven experience and collaborative skills.”