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

Surrey landlord’s petition to overturn RTB decision fails

Case involved former tenant evicted from basement suite on grounds his landlord needed it for family

SURREY EVENTS: ‘Classic Scary Movie Marathon’ for Halloween, and more

Concerts, plays, fundraisers and other events in our weekly guide for Surrey

Halloween Calendar

Family friendly events happening around Surrey

‘Hang up immediately’: Delta police warn of scam calls after woman loses $6,000

Public reminded police, government agencies never demand payment by phone or in bitcoin/gift cards

Ten actors spin ‘Spider’s Web’ for pre-Halloween play in Surrey

Royal Canadian Theatre Company brings Agatha Christie story to the stage

Spotlight on B.C.: Liberals need at least 10 B.C. ridings to take the election

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the federal election outcome

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read