Candidate for town council in the municipal election Charles Everest, and his fellow candidates, were given 90 seconds for an opening statement to expand on his platform. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Candidate for town council in the municipal election Charles Everest, and his fellow candidates, were given 90 seconds for an opening statement to expand on his platform. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Council candidates put in the hot seat during candidate forum

The 14 candidates attended the forum put on by the Chamber of Commerce

All 14 candidates for the municipal election in Sylvan Lake were in attendance at last night’s candidate forum.

Audience members wrote their questions down and submitted them before the forum started. Candidates were issued questions from the gathered audience and given one minute to answer the question. Three candidates were given the opportunity to answer each question, and the names were pulled at random.

The audience wanted to make sure each of the candidates were well versed on the issues, asking a range of questions from, “Have you attended council meetings?” to “Will you lobby to reopen Highway 781-11?” and “What will you do for the youth of Sylvan Lake?”

A few key issues the candidates were asked to speak on included the economy, environment and housing.

Economy

Growing the town’s economy was the hot button issue of the evening, with roughly one third of the questions pertaining to business growth, town expenditures and tourism.

The people of Sylvan Lake want to see some growth in the town’s economy, and to know the Town’s money is being spent properly, and not frivolously.

When asked the question, “How will you control future spending to decrease the Town’s debt?” the candidates generally responded by saying careful decisions are needed when discussing spending money.

“We need to weigh our wants versus our needs to ensure any current spending will see a return on our investment,” said candidate Tim Mearns.

Those present at the forum wanted to see the candidates had some sort of plan or vision for economic growth in Sylvan Lake.

When asked, “What is your vision for local economic growth?” the candidates agreed revitalizing the downtown core is key.

“We need to turn the downtown into a destination,” said incumbent Coun. Matt Prete. “We have to bring the people here first.”

As a resort town, Sylvan Lake’s economy is greatly effected by tourism in the town. Candidates at the forum all agreed the town needs to continue playing a large role in tourism and bringing people into the town throughout the year.

“I think Sylvan Lake has been drifting away from tourism over the last few years. I would like to see it go back to what it was like before and increase tourism in town,” said Ted Iverson.

Environment

The people of Sylvan Lake appear to be very concerned with the local environment, as this was the second most common topic during the forum.

Audience members asked questions about keeping the lake clean and healthy and the creation of by-laws for no idling.

When it came to the health of the lake, keeping both the water and the lakeshore clean, incumbent councillor Chris Lust said it is vitally important to keep the lake pristine.

“The lake is our jewel and it’s our responsibility to keep it clean and healthy,” Lust said, adding zebra mussels and blue-green algae are two issue affecting the health of all water-ways in Alberta.

The candidates were also asked if they would support a no idling by-law in town, most were agreeable to the idea.

Candidate Star Roshuk said a no idling by-law is non-intrusive and easy to abide by in town.

“I absolutely would agree [to a no idling by-law],” Roshuk said. “I believe in our future and our environment.”

Housing

There were a few questions asked regarding housing in Sylvan Lake. The audience members were looking for solutions for affordable housing, the cottage area and for seniors.

When it came to the issue of housing for seniors, all candidates questioned were in favour of finding ways to increase housing and transportation possibilities for the seniors in town.

Candidate Daryl Carriere said it was “discouraging and disheartening” to see seniors in Sylvan Lake limited by accessibility.

“I think we should have heavier fines for those who take advantage of our seniors,” said Carriere. “I would also like to see more wheel chair parking.”

The candidate forum was presented by the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the moderator was Kelly Stewart, a lawyer with Rowanoak Law Office.

Election Day is on Oct. 16, with polls at the Family and Community Centre from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Advanced polls are held Sept. 29 from 4-8 p.m. and Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Municipal Government Building.



megan.roth@sylvanlakenews.com

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Municipal election