With many municipalities opting for virtual forums, the Beaverlodge Chamber of Commerce hosted an in-person event at the community centre last Wednesday.
It was attended by all the incumbent candidates (Terry Dueck, Cyndi Corbett, Hugh Graw, Gena Jones, Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus and Cal Mosher). Bill Martin left a note for attendees, Cody Moulds pre-submitted his answers and Victoria Hudson was unable to attend.
The event saw about 16 people attending.
Chamber president Callie Balderston moderated the forum.
A common talking point for most candidates was ensuring a new health complex and firehall, infrastructure, as well as safe walkways.
Candidates were asked what three things they would like to accomplish in their term if elected.
Cody Moulds said that his priority would be with ensuring updated equipment to the fire department and the firehall; a new hospital; and more transparent tax dollar spending.
Moulds said that he is running for council to represent the younger residents of Beaverlodge.
Kokotilo-Bekkerus’ priorities if re-elected are the new hospital and affordable housing for families and seniors in the community. She said she wants to see the creation of a welcoming committee for people who recently moved to Beaverlodge.
If elected, Graw’s priorities are to ensure taxes are looked at and said that it's not fair to compare those to neighbouring municipalities like Sexsmith which does not have a pool or own the arena in their town. Infrastructure and a new firehall rounded out his list of priorities.
Gena Jones said her number one priority is to see the new hospital in the town; secondly, she wants to see the firehall completed, and thirdly she wants to create a working group of citizens to help ensure walking trails can go forward and to help plan more town events such as hockey tournaments.
Corbett also believes the hospital is a priority for the town; secondly, Corbett said speed limits in school zones should be enforced all day, and they should encompass a two-block radius around the school. Corbett said she wants to see a boost to the economy and is “unsure of the best ways to move forward with it but hopes to hear from residents”.
Terry Dueck also agreed that the health complex is a priority. He said infrastructure was a priority too and that the town has “ensured they have the right people in place now to ensure it's taken care of.” Dueck wants to ensure that taxpayers are aware of how money is being spent and wants to ensure the town does not spend lavishly.
Aside from the new hospital and firehall, Mosher said he wants to see the town become more accessible for walkers, whether it be trails or sidewalks.
In Bill Martin’s letter to attendees of the forum, he says that there should be a clear and straightforward bylaw that will outline the town’s necessities, such as roads, water, sewer. Martin said these are “needs” which should trump “wants”.
and all else would be wants, with the necessities held above all else.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News