It is noon on Wednesday 14 September and I’ve arranged to meet Peter Geibel in “Books Café and Things” on Main Street South so he can tell me why he deserves to be elected as councillor for Ward 5.
Outside, on the other side of the street, I see our slightly stooped Mayor in the company of men in suits. The old bank manager is up to something!
But back to Peter Geibel…
I have a list of questions in my head that I want to put to the candidate. But he is on auto-pilot, hardly pausing for breath, as he races through his life history. I interrupt and try a little course correction. What do you bring to the table that the other candidates don’t?
I discover it is his pragmatism. Indeed on Peter’s website he proudly nails his colours to the mast:
“Contrary to some of the candidates running, I have not been groomed in the political arena, but rather have learned to be a self starter, manager, and consummate pragmatist. My task has always been to establish common ground between all parties and find amicable resolutions to any eventuality.”
Now he turns to the Clock Tower and explains how his pragmatism will get both sides together, producing a beneficial outcome. He says the Town should offer Forrest the tennis court lands down by the Community Centre for his condo and, in return, get the Clock Tower lands from Forrest.
I concede it is a novel idea. No cash would change hands. It would be a straight swap.
And how high would this condo be? Seven storeys?
Peter tells me it could be up to nine. The Town would get some public parking. And the owners of the apartments would get terrific views of Fairy Lake. It is, apparently, a win-win.
But why would the Town want to go down this road?
He tells me there is a big pipe sewer under the tennis courts that is in very poor condition and it will have to be dug up at some point and replaced.
Peter tells me the Town probably has to do a deal with Forrest as he (Forrest) holds all the cards.
It’s David and Goliath, he says.
I ask him who David is. The Town or Bob Forrest?
Peter tells me the Town is split on the Clock Tower. I tell him the Mayor is in favour of Forrest’s development but who else? Peter says Dave Kerwin has shifted his position. I press him further. He doesn’t want to name any more names. Fair enough.
So why is Bob the muscular Goliath who can take on the weedy Town and win?
Peter says Bob would go to the OMB if the Town turned down his Clock Tower application. True. But even if the OMB gave approval Bob would still need an agreement from the Town for his underground car park. The Town has a complete choke-hold on Bob if it refuses to make the land available for Bob’s underground car park.
Now I am asking Peter about his team, his platform and his campaign launch.
I hear that people he has spoken to have been won over by him. His platform will be released in a week and his campaign launch will be held here, in Books Café and Things, in a fortnight.
Peter concedes that he was “late out of the gate” (he is just back from Ireland) but he is working hard to pull everything together.
Peter’s platform – like his website – is plainly work in progress.