There will be a new Director of Electoral Area “A” on Nov. 19, and three candidates are vying for the position.
Garry Habart, Caleb Moss, and Randy Priest participated in the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce organized All Candidates Forum. Proper communication of concerns and ideas was on the minds of the candidates, and the audience.
“There should be a regional advisory committee, which means you have people from each region representing in an advisory board for the director, that’s somebody from Blaeberry area, maybe somebody from Nicholson, somebody from Parson,” said Moss.
“It is a combination of different people from different socio-economic statuses. That way you get a wide range of feedback. Also, setting up regular office hours where you are accessible and findable is helpful.”
Moss added that he intends on keeping communication channels open online, and through the newspaper.
Priest discussed some of the challenges to open communication, including the size and diversity of Area “A.”
“We have a lot of diverse things going on here. And I believe that’s one of our positive things, it attracts people to our community. It is also something that keeps us apart. We don’t talk to each other,” he said.
“We have a communication problem, but we are dealing with it. Right now broadband is going through our community and becoming accessible. I would promote talking to us through face-to-face meetings… Let’s meet and talk about some of the issues that we have and make note of them as a group… We need to really start talking.”
Habart, who has served as Director of Area “A” in the past, recalled having an advisory committee in place.
“I think that is very important, to have communication from different areas. One thing I have learned is that some people like meetings, but most of us don’t,” he said, adding that he working on being up-to-date on more modern means of communication such as Facebook. He is confident that mediums such as this, and email, will be sufficient in most circumstances.
“When there are specific issues that come up, that’s when you have your public meetings.”
Communication within the regional district was also of some concern.
One audience member wondered why the district would invest in buildings in Salmon Arm to host the representatives, when electronic communication would allow directors to stay at home and cut costs.
“I sit on an advisory committee for the Columbia Basin Trust. And the trust has set a very good example of how you communicate through two valleys. They’ve got satellite offices in Nakusp, Castlegar, Cranbrook, and we have them in Golden. And the CBT is doing a good job of communicating with each other,” said Priest.
“In this day and age, I do not believe we need to be building big office buildings to keep our business going.”
Habart agreed with Priest, having been around when the last set of office buildings were built for the regional district.
“I’d be more than happy to use electronic communication back and forth. It’s the smart move.”
Moss is the only candidate running for two positions (Director of Area “A” and Town Council), and his ability to perform both jobs without conflict was questioned.
“Holding two positions seems, on the outside, to be a difficult thing…but there are efficient and effective ways of holding each position,” said Moss. “There’s not any visible conflict between the two… I don’t actually see a grey area. Both the CSRD and the Town of Golden are working for the same thing, and they are more or less working for the same people… These things should be looked at as something that can work together, and perhaps if I am fortunate and skilled enough, that perception will change.”
In closing remarks, the candidates proposed change, responsible governance, and thanked everyone for their time before asking them for their votes, in hopes of occupying the Area “A” chair, one of six at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District table.