Bowen Island saw a third mayoral candidate enter the scene on the final day of nominations, with John Turner filing his declaration papers on the morning of Sept. 9 to join Maureen Nicholson and Andrew Leonard in the race. His decision meant the municipality will not repeat the two-person contest of 2018.
Turner, an island resident for more than 30 years who works as an electrical engineer in the tech sector, says there were a few triggers that led to him running.
“There’s been a few things municipally related in the past five years that just make me scratch my head. Why are we going this way?” says Turner. “The park (Cape Roger Curtis proposal) was one that sort of kicked it off. It’s one of those things where I think I can give back and straighten out some of this stuff, and maybe navigate it more smoothly than others.”
Turner says there’s lots to work on before the park issue though, noting that will take a long time to fully play out. “We have to take care of the infrastructure first: roads, sewer, and water,” which Turner calls his ‘Big 3’.
“And then we’re also committed to the Community Centre. And we don’t have a plan to pay for it yet (remaining costs). So it’s looking at those things first, and then way down the line the park,” says Turner.
“The other thing I want to do is get communication flowing better. There’s going to be good decisions and bad decisions, but I think it will help people understand why those are made. Just make it realistic for people,” added Turner to his priority list.
Turner, who enjoys golf and sailboating in his spare time, says he doesn't expect Bowen to have to deal with certain features of larger elections.
"The thing I don’t like about big city politics is everyone’s trying to spin everything. We’re too small to deal with spin, that’s basically someone trying to manipulate you into voting their way," he says.
"Everyone’s going to have a voice and everyone’s passionate about this place, but if you’re trying to win things by trickery, that’s not a good way to go. You just need to be level headed about things. You need to be more objective. That’s what I’m bringing to the table… and that’s what I’m hoping will bind people to me here," says Turner.
Regarding his campaign strategy, Turner says it will be "As laid back as possible. I like to talk to people, I’d rather do that than anything else. I also like to listen to people… by knowing people’s motivations and concerns than you can address those, and the way I get that information is by talking to people."
As far as the actual job goes, Turner teases that he sees the fictional president Zaphod Beeblebrox from the book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a lesson in leadership - the lesson being Turner wants to avoid the character's flamboyant leadership style, and instead emulate the role of the book's background government characters who actually got the real work done.
“I see it almost as an administrative role, but one where you have to pass back and forth lots of communication,” says Turner of the mayor position. “I think I’m pretty good at that, so that’s what I’m hoping to do and bring to the picture.”