Limited public involvement in Elkford politics discussed at forum

Nine candidates took part in the Elkford all-candidates forum on Monday, November 3.

Nine candidates for the municipal election that takes place on November 15 answered questions to an audience of approximately 115 members of the public at the Elkford all-candidates forum on Monday, November 3.

Each candidate had two minutes to introduce themselves and explain why they are running for council.

“Being a councillor is not an easy job, making decisions for our community on behalf of our community is a huge responsibility and the decisions that have to be made are endless,” said candidate Mandy McGregor in her opening statement. “If elected, I will be only one vote on council but I can assure you that I will be one vote filled with the desire, the enthusiasm, the dedication and the determination to do what is best for our community.”

On the topic of getting the public more involved in the political process, mayoral candidate David Jones had this to say, “I would like to see more people interested in local politics, it seems like the only time they show up is when they have problems … people should take interest to ensure that we are doing our jobs.”

The recent deer cull was a hot topic among candidates. While most candidates agreed that they support council in the decision they made, as the deer were becoming a danger to humans and domestic animals, there was a consensus that the project that current Mayor Dean McKerracher is leading, which involves relocating the animals, is a more humane way to deal with the issue.

“I am leading a group right now from Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere and Elkford,” said McKerracher. “We are working with the provincial government to try relocation in 2015 … we have already chosen a place for them to be moved down in the South Country so they will be monitored by biologists and by the government. If that is successful, the program will probably continue on right across B.C.”

The candidates went on to answer a long list of questions, including how they would encourage new businesses to open in Elkford, most stating that the district currently has incentives that include programs being put in place for tax breaks. Ken Wildeman commented on the district needing to buy more land to house new businesses.

McKerracher went on to explain that the district is dealing with the lack of paramedics in Elkford by training their firefighters to be first responders and clearing it with BC Ambulance so that the firefighters can drive the ambulance.

After their closing remarks, the evening ended with a social where the public could talk to the candidates one on one.