More than 100 residents filed in the Cache Creek Community Hall on Monday (Oct. 1) evening for the local civic election all-candidates forum.
It was a great turnout and most of them stayed for the three-hour meeting, as they applauded candidates’ responses with a wee bit of heckling from time to time.
The evening kicked off with the five of the six councillor candidates present.
Incumbent councillor Wyatt McMurray was away on family business.
Lisa Dafoe, Wendy Coomber, David Dubois, Annette Pittman and Sue Peters expanded on the profiles they provided The Journal, which appeared either in this or the Sept. 27 edition of the paper.
There were some common themes during not only the councillor candidates but also the mayoralty candidates’ three-minute introductions – recovering from the wildfire and back-to-back flooding disasters in the community and more support for local businesses that are reeling from the loss of revenue during the road closures and evacuation orders.
Themes for helping the community were also agreed upon: economic development; doing more to help local businesses; growing the community; attracting more businesses (jobs) and families; safe and affordable rental housing so workers have somewhere to live; and more help from the provincial government to help with the downloading of costs from senior levels of government.
The goose that will lay the golden egg will hopefully be the extension of the Cache Creek Landfill, which will provide upwards of 100 jobs.
All three mayoralty candidates – incumbent John Ranta, Sean Murdock and Santo Talarico – were present.
It was immediately apparent Ranta, who has been mayor of Cache Creek for some 28 years, was going to be in for a fight at the ballot box with the two competent contenders.
In his opening address, Ranta talked about his last four-year being one of hell and high water with the Elephant Hill wildfire and three years of water flowing through Cache Creek, which affected all of Cache Creek by plugging culverts and causing damage throughout the community.
“We address those issues; we are addressing those issues… and we’re doing our best as a council….”
Murdock noted there were going to be some tough questions and admitted there was “going to be some fireworks.”
“If I saw that fire in [Ranta’s] belly when I got here, I wouldn’t have been sitting here at this table.”
Murdock added he has wanted to help this town for the two years he’s been here and running for mayor was the best way he can do it.
Talarico provided his profile and then talked about the next four years and the challenges it will bring to small rural communities.
Noting he had been talking to many people in the past couple of months, Talarico said they want change: vacant and untidy businesses to be addressed; doctor shortage addressed; and a full functioning hospital among other things.
“I am acutely aware that the mayor represents every system and I will take that position very, very seriously.
Candidates were asked questions about the marijuana odour in downtown Cache Creek; legalization of marijuana; economic development; amalgamation of Cache Creek and Ashcroft; sewer treatment plant odour; light industrial tax rate; curb appeal; community bus reinstatement; high turnover in Village Office; rental and senior housing; and recycling depot relocation.