By Raven Nyman
More than 90 residents were present at the All-Candidates Forum in Clinton’s Memorial Hall on Oct. 4 to learn more about those in the running for this year’s civic election.
Thanks to the Concerned Citizens of Clinton for requesting the use of the hall and organizing the event itself.
The eight residents who are running for a position in Village council this year are Sandra Burrage, Kim McIlravey, Laura Paquette, Ted Pappas, David Park, Christine Rivett, Cynthia Robinson, and Ross Tapping.
The four 2018 candidates for the office of mayor are Diana Guerin, Roland Stanke, Susan Swan and Ira Zbarsky.
Three candidates are also competing to become the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Area E director: Bill Mackenzie, Sally Watson, and Ross Tapping.
Tapping is not only running for Clinton councillor, but also running for TNRD Area E director, which meant he was offered two timed responses each question.
Continuity between councils past and present was brought up frequently throughout the evening. Multiple candidates expressed a desire to see the newly elected council continue with some of the projects initiated by the current, outgoing council. Most notably, residents and candidates alike shared their hopes to see the Seniors Housing project continue successfully.
The evening officially began at 6 p.m. with all four mayoral candidates and seven of the eight councillor candidates in attendance. Pappas was not present at the event’s start, but arrived shortly before 6:30 p.m. and joined the panel of candidates in front of the stage.
To kick things off, each candidate took to the podium to provide the crowd with a brief personal introduction, stating their background in the community, their goals for the next four years as candidate, and their relevant experience to the position.
Clinton resident Andy May served as the evening’s co-ordinator and MC, facilitating the question-and-answer (Q&A) period alongside helpers Nancy Rempel, Rolly Higginbottom and Robin Fennel.
Each question in the Q&A was timed precisely and candidates were alerted and cut-off when their time ran out.
May took questions from audience who submitted their requests onsite.
When asked what they considered to be the most important issue they may tackle – if elected – in a four-year term, each of the candidates answered differently, but many agreed there isn’t just one issue of importance to consider.
Some of the most common issues raised were economic development and affordable housing within the community. Candidates and residents alike expressed the need for more businesses and opportunities for employment within the Village, while also prioritizing the current lack of housing available.
Another common theme throughout the evening was the desire to further promote and market Clinton for what it already has to offer. Multiple candidates shared their intentions to highlight the Village’s unique history and heritage events while also promoting Clinton’s picturesque landscape and laid-back, rural lifestyle.
Later in the evening, candidates were asked how they would help to promote citizenship in our local youth – starting with the school. It was unanimously agreed Clinton already has a great school that the community values dearly, and all candidates expressed their desire to get – and stay – more – involved with youth in Clinton, in and outside of school.
Candidates were also asked how they intend to navigate cannabis legalization, which comes into effect on Oct. 17, just three days before the civic election. This question launched a lively discussion amongst the 14 candidates and drew many comments from the crowd, along with plenty of laughter, too.
Most candidates presented open minds on the subject and expressed a belief that not a lot would actually change for the Village following legalization. However, it was unanimously agreed the Village can serve to benefit economically from the potential development of legal dispensaries following legalization and provide another avenue for business and employment opportunities in the community.
Overall, all candidates expressed a desire to develop – or “free up” – more housing for young families and seniors in Clinton, while also striving to increase infrastructure and attract new businesses and residents.
On the whole, candidates said they hope this can be achieved in the next four years without compromising the small-town feel of the Village, while preserving the history and heritage events that make Clinton so unique.
For those unable to attend the All-Candidates Forum, or would like to revisit some of the questions asked and answered, a live-stream video was broadcast on Facebook and is now available for review in Clinton’s community Facebook group: Clinton, BC—Events, Activities, and Items For Sale.
Clinton Club AGMs
The Clinton Snow Jockey Club will host its annual general meeting (AGM) on Oct. 12 at the Clinton Library at 7 p.m.
The Clinton Curling Club will host its AGM on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Curling Rink. The meeting will be held upstairs in the lounge. New members are encouraged to come out and give curling a try this year.
Do you have Clinton news? Contact Raven Nyman at email@example.com.