Ashcroft Council candidates (L-R) Jessica Clement

Ashcroft candidates field questions

Ashcroft candidates for mayor, council and school board answer questions posed by an engaged audience.

Last week’s All Candidates Forum in Ashcroft brought out a record 135 people who came to hear what Ashcroft’s candidates for Mayor, Council and School Board had to say on a variety of issues.

Questions were written down ahead of time and read by moderator Ron Hood and they touched on many issues relevant to Ashcroft, including the burning bylaw, the Opera House, home schooling, the new K-12 school and the state of the hospital, but underlying those were the questions that asked the candidates how they would reverse the declining population that leads to a loss of services and under use of facilities.

Councillor candidate Barbara Roden told the crowd that “the only say to get young people and families is to have jobs for them. It’s all a great big circle.” She said some of the current grad students plan to pursue a career in medicine and seek employment in Ashcroft.

Cultural activities can attract people to town, said candidate John Kidder, but also the changing nature of employment and better technical infrastructure lets people work from home via their computer for companies located around the world.

Candidate Al Mertens said increasing accessibility around town was key to preventing an older population from having to move away. The community bus is a good way to increase mobility, but  let downs on street corners and ramps should be part of a plan for the town and not left to chance.

The Wellness brand, the source of heated debates in the past, seems to have cooled down, judging by the candidates’ responses to a Wellness vs. historical question.

“History is part of our wellness,” said candidate Jessical Clement. “To incorporate all of that into one sign should be our goal.”

Candidate and incumbent councillor Doreen Lambert, once a strong opponent of the brand, agreed with Clement that the two could be combined.

The bylaw that banned all burning in Ashcroft may be reviewed, as candidates Alf Trill and Barbara Roden both agreed that limited burning would be acceptable to them.

Trill said he was “in favour of burning a little bit of yard waste or a burning barrel for hot dogs… That would be great if we could allow it again.”

Roden said she didn’t see the harm in having backyard firepits that people could sit around and would revisit the issue.

Among their questions, trustee candidates were asked how they would gather input to make their decisions at the table.

Candidate and incumbent trustee Christopher Roden cited dialogue with the parents and consultation. He noted that the school district had just adopted a new communications plan that would allow the public to find out more about what the district was doing.

Candidate Vicky Trill said she enjoyed working with and coaching the students. Through the students she also hears what the parents are saying.

The mayoralty candidates were also asked what they would do to encourage people to move to Ashcroft.

The town needs well paying jobs that will support families, said candidate Jack Jeyes.

Job opportunities  and also more residential development within the town boundaries, said candidate and incumbent councillor Jerry Fiddick.

Keeping the town attractive by making it a happy place to live, said candidate Dave Belcham. And having jobs to maintain that.

The candidates all pledged to keep hospital issues in the foreground.

Jeyes said he didn’t want to just maintain services there, he wanted to expand them. Fiddick said mayor and council continue to be in talks with the Ministry, IH and the hospital to keep the issues front and centre. Belcham said the Wellness and Health Action committee was doing an excellent job and deserved the support of the community.

Just Posted

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

Most Read