Last week The Courier had candidates for mayor and council member answer two questions each put forward by the community.
There are currently four candidates for the position of mayor: current Mayor Sandra Harwood, Councillor Brenda Gouglas, past mayor Rob McDougall, and Ann McCormick.
There are also five candidates running for the position of councillor: Councillor Dave Birdi, Dave Burgess, Riley Willick, Russ Gingrich, and Joan Burdeniuk.
The municipal election will take place on November 19.
This week, we will continue to print questions answered by the candidates, and hopefully give the public a basis for comparison between candidates.
While the All Candidates Forum took place last Thursday night, it was too late to be included in this week’s paper due to the press deadline, however next week’s paper will include a write-up of the event.
Anyone with more questions for candidates can please send them to The Courier at email@example.com or phone 250-996-8482.
Mayoral candidate question:
What plans do you have for building for the future? Is there any infrastructure you would like to see or preparation for the community to handle future growth?
I don’t believe it is the responsibility of the District to actually build residences or apartment blocks. My thoughts are that it is in our best interests to work closely and co-operatively with developers, to consider any rezoning requests, designate land for future development, following our OCP, and work to encourage senior’s and low cost housing units in our future plans.
Heathmont subdivision development and marketing, construction of the proposed community center, upgrades to Highway 27 and the Germanson Highway (North Road), downtown traffic, parking issues, and intersection congestion, community forest expansion, senior housing expansion, industrial subdivision development, downtown walking trails and a new hospital.
In building for the future we need to make sure our Official Community Plan is current so that it reflects the needs of industry, small business, and our residents. I would like to get residents and businesses more engaged in providing input into that process.
This is an opportune time to consider a partnership with Nak’azdli for a water treatment system as both our communities are expecting growth in our population and housing over the next few years. I also believe this to be an excellent project Thompson Creek and Terrane Metals could contribute legacy funds toward.
We need a community centre that will be home to recreational activities for children through to seniors. It should be versatile enough to be used by sports and service groups alike.
Marketing Fort St. James to the outside world has been part of the Sustainability Plan since 2009. This is a priority for me.
As we grow with new development, we need to review with the community and renew the Visioning document of 2007.
Housing, our hospital, our roads, and diversification of small business and social supports are a priority.
Councillor candidate question:
What do you see as the key issues facing Fort St. James today and what are your top three priorities in addressing them?
The key issues facing FSJ today would be unsustainable growth which could contribute to things such as rises in cost of living and lack of low income housing. Other issues that should be looked at are the drug and alcohol abuse downtown that we see daily and the lack of activity for the town’s youth.
On the issue of growth, planning is everything. Communication is a large part as well, any plan for the growth of the town would need to include the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Committee and citizens.
Examining funding options will also be critical to make plans a reality.
On the issue of Drugs and alcohol, FSJ and Nak’azdli would need to work together as it is a problem that equally affects both communities.
As for the activities for the town’s youth, it may be possible to have a youth feature added to the community hall or even the creation of a well lit skate park.
We are in need of additional doctors and medical services. Fibre leaving our area in vast volumes. Economic development is a key issue. My priority would be to lobby health services in Victoria to promote our community as a place to live.
My action plan would be to receive compensation back to the district either in a monitory sense or by some form of trade off to benefit the district. Also, a by-pass.
The primary safety issue that I feel that we need to address is increased truck traffic flow through the community and area. There are other safety and security issues as well, such as affordable housing, increased crime, downtown congestion and potential pollution.
In order to support the economic development of our community we will need to address the current infrastructure such as a day care or a community centre, and the impact development will have on our existing infrastructure such as water, sewer, roads etc.
While it is generally recognized that we are entering a time of increased economic development I believe that it is the job of council to ensure that we plan for all of the stages of development, addressing both positive and negative ramifications of changes over the long term.
Community pride and revenue sharing are also issues I see which need addressing. My priorities are the traffic issue, infrastructure development and community pride.
Sewer and water infrastructure replacement. Long term planning for community growth and stability. Revenue sharing with mining and other resource use in our area. The large volume of truck traffic through town. Downtown off road public parking. Transparency and better communication of financial decisions made by the district.
I see revenue sharing, a safer road system to carry the anticipated increase in truck traffic through town and a sewer and water replacement plan as our top three priorities.
Some of the challenges the opportunities create are increase demand on roads, housing, medical and social services. The increase in traffic on the North Road, Highway 27, and the “5 corners” will require improvements and continuing rapport with the provincial government to the solutions.
I believe the community needs to have affordable housing to attract and retain the residents. An increase in community population and a good business environment will help the community with infrastructure and maintain low levels of taxation. Better water, more sidewalks, a bigger Senior’s Centre, and pressing the provincial government for a new hospital and operation of the medical clinic.