With 12 candidates trying to fill six spots on Town Council, it was a full evening of discussion at the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce’s All Candidates Forum last week.
Each candidate had the opportunity to answer two pre-chosen questions, one question from the floor (for which the individual candidate was randomly chosen), and up to two other questions directed at other candidates if they so chose.
As always, people were curious about what these prospective politicians planned to do to help local businesses thrive.
Andrew Commons said that a very clear barrier to new or expanding businesses is the zoning bylaw from 2012. He says the cost it puts on businesses is too great.
Bruce Fairley thought that a major barrier for potential businesses, especially ones that want to redevelop existing buildings, is the Town’s regulations around parking, particularly in the downtown core.
Lori Baxendale said that the best way to support the business community in Golden is through collaboration.
“A collaboration between four entities; the Town of Golden, Tourism Golden, the Chamber, and an economic development office (the establishment of which she says is a priority), can do a lot to implement sound economic development practices that retain and grow the population,” she said.
With the talk on Facebook in the past few weeks, it is no surprise that the subject of an indoor pool came up, yet didn’t receive strong support from the candidates. Bob Munro, who said that the Town of Golden is in financial trouble, believes it is too expensive for the municipality, and that perhaps a fundraising campaign, spearheaded by the people and not the Town, might be an option.
“We can’t even afford to fix what we have today,” he said.
With the recognition that each councillor is one of a team of six (seven including the Mayor), several candidates echoed the importance of working as a team.
“It’s important to choose the best functional group of six,” said Caleb Moss, who has served on council with two different groups in his two terms. “Diversity is good.”
The youngest candidate believes he can give the youth of Golden a voice in municipal politics should he be elected. Twenty-three year old Eddie Leigan requested that young people get out and vote, whether it is for him or not.
“In the last election more people over the age of 86 voted than under the age of 25. Let’s be honest, they don’t have a lot of time left,” he said as the audience erupted in laughter. “And the under 25s have a lot of time left, so we should be more engaged.”