October 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
Municipal Election Forum for Office of Councillor
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Candidates for Office of Councillor.
Pass Herald Reporter
It was a rather lukewarm 2017 Municipal Election Forum, as the seven candidates for Office of Councillor generally held the same opinion on the “hot topics” concerning the Pass, perhaps an indication that the previous Council has been moving the municipality in a way favourable of the majority of residents.

A moderate amount of public attended the forum, held at the MDM, to hear incumbents - Marlene Anctil, Dave Filipuzzi, Doreen Glavin, and Dean Ward - and new candidates - Gordon Lundy, Leslie McCallum and Lisa Sygutek - answer questions prepared by the Chamber of Commerce, as well as public questions from the floor.

Each of the candidates brings something of value to the position. Current Councillor Dean Ward has been in office for 10 years, and has made a reputation for himself for asking the tough questions. Each of the incumbents have four years of experience sitting on Council, thereby coming with strong knowledge of complex and sometimes convoluted proceedings like budget, bylaws and policy processes. Each of the current councillors has significant accomplishments that they have achieved in their terms. New candidate Gordon Lundy has worked in municipal administration for approximately 30 years. Lundy has worked for 11 different councils in four different municipalities, including the CAO of Crowsnest Pass until he retired in 2012. Leslie McCallum, who was first introduced to CNP through holidays and work conferences, also has involvement in the municipality, sitting on the Seniors Housing Board and working for the FCSS committee. As owner of The Pass Herald, Lisa Sygutek has experience covering Council meetings and is acutely informed about issues important to residents of CNP, where she was born and bred.
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A variety of topics of broad and current interest were discussed by the candidates. Below are some highlights. The entire stream of the forum can be viewed on the Pass Herald Facebook page.

On Riversdale…

Councillors Lundy, McCallum and Ward, the candidates who responded to the question, were in general agreement that the Grassy Mountain Coal Project is needed in the community to increase the commercial tax base, but so are mitigation strategies to ensure that proper protocols are in place to ensure proper dust suppression and little to no impact on residents and the environment.

On the amount of managers…

Addressing Councillor Ward, a member of the public asked, “When you ran for the last time, you said you felt that the municipality was too top-heavy. Do you still feel that way?”

“At times, absolutely,” responded Councillor Ward. “For the last four years, I have consistently argued against increasing the size of our management team.”

In April 2016, Councillor Ward also made a motion to put a freeze on hiring of senior managers.

“I hope the next Council carries on on that path,” he said.

On how to bring economic development back to the community…

“We have a lot of gaps in our small business community and we are seeing the loss over the past number of years. It is driven by not having the necessary population to carry forth with those businesses. I see working with the existing organizations that are promoting economic development in our community to try and put a stop to those gaps continuing,” said Lundy.

“In addition to having promotion, and that, probably, is the key, we need to ensure that we have good bylaws and good life quality. Infrastructure is really important to new business coming in,” said McCallum, adding there needs to be strong promotion of the business opportunities in Crowsnest Pass geared at people coming to the community to recreate.
Sygutek expressed that the municipality needs to make it easier to start up new business and suggested alleviating costs for new business because, as a small business owner herself, she knows first-hand that the first three to five years are the hardest.
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On more green initiatives…

One member of the public expressed a desire to see more green initiatives in Crowsnest Pass.

“We’re in sunny Southern Alberta. We should be building a solar plant to generate our own electricity. We have so many positive things going, but I’d like to see more green initiatives that can be done quickly,” she said, adding that current utility companies are charging high administration fees, oftentimes exceeding the cost of the actual bill.

Councillors Anctil, Filipuzzi and Glavin, who responded to the question, indicated that the current Council has been entertaining the idea of solar power in the community and has met with relevant entities to investigate the cost and feasibility of pursuing such activity.

On how to keep young people in the community…

Councillors Anctil and Filipuzzi, and Lundy, McCallum, and Sygutek responded to the question.

Sygutek emphasized the importance of creating industry and jobs in the community. “We need to give them something to come back to,” she said.

Lundy pointed out that concentrating on small businesses is particularly important. McCallum highlighted the new York Creek Senior’s Lodge that is slated to be built within the next year, which has 25 new units and will therefore open up more job opportunities.

Councillors Anctil and Filipuzzi noted that Crowsnest Pass needs to be a desirable area for families to come and live in terms of community services and beautification.

“We do need industry, but we also need something to hold them. Young kids need something to do,” said Councillor Anctil.

“The last census was the last time that it went up in a long time. There has even been an increase in school numbers. We are on the right track, but need to work harder,” pointed out Councillor Filipuzzi.
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On how to get people to pull in from the twinned highway…

“That’s one of the reasons I’m very concerned about the highway bypassing Coleman. I don’t think people are going to stop,” said Councillor Ward. “I think 90% of people travelling down the highway are going to drive right past Crowsnest Pass. I believe in a different approach. I believe that the highway should be twinned through Coleman.”

Councillor Glavin pointed out that even now, there is a difficulty in drawing people into the community, and noted that certain mitigation strategies should be developed to promote what Crowsnest Pass has to offer once a twinned highway is put in, but even at present, as well.

The Municipal Election Forum was hosted by the Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce at the MDM and moderated by Valerie Danielson. Advanced polls are to be held on October 11, while regular polls will be open on October 16.
October 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
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