On the spot: Sheldon Ready speaks to the audience as MC Cyril Gosse

On the spot: Sheldon Ready speaks to the audience as MC Cyril Gosse

Candidates share views on responsibility to voters

Candidates once again had an opportunity to speak to the two topics at the second all-candidates meeting held Wednesday

It wasn’t all about jobs and the economy this time around.

Candidates once again had an opportunity to speak to the two topics at the second all-candidates meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Seniors Centre. But this time, the mayoral and council hopefuls received questions relating to their personal philosophies relating to such things as responsibility to the electorate and affordable housing.

The former question specifically asked candidates to provide their perception of what their responsibilities are to the electorate. Mayoral candidates were first to answer, and Lorraine March was first among them. She said responsibility for her means listening to the good and the bad and taking action on what the community wants. Darrell Trouton had a similar idea, stating he would listen and learn and provide a strong voice that represents the community. Sheldon Ready emphasized the importance of fiscal responsibility, noting he would share a vote with council that has to help all constituents. Responsibility for incumbent Mayor Malcolm MacLeod means being able to lobby different levels of government for grants and treating all groups equally. He added you shouldn’t have an agenda and that “you “shouldn’t do this job to move your own projects ahead.”

Listening, and working for the greatest good of the electorate was also a prominent priority among council candidates.

When asked for a definition of affordable housing, candidates were more varied in their responses. March said what it’s not about is being able to buy low and sell high, She cited the district’s affordable housing policy, saying it is a good one but needs expanding. Trouton spoke to his own experience in  trying to work with the district to develop an affordable housing project not funded by taxpayer subsidies. Ready said affordable housing project would require sweat equity and skill, and that all options should be looked at. MacLeod said you first have to know what the average income of residents is before you can determine what is affordable. He said the district needs to work with developers, noting the bottom line is the developer has to make money.

Council candidate Charlotte Hutchinson said the issue of affordable housing really arose during the recent economic boom when there was a lot of people coming to work but no place to stay. She said she didn’t think council could provide housing for all wage levels, and cited Trouton’s project as an example of what the district needs to participate in. Other suggestions by candidates included increasing densities for developers, approving in-house suites, and rallying the federal and provincial governments for support.

The only candidate singled out in questioning was Ready, who was asked to explain his vision for Sicamous as a centre of wellness. For an example, he pointed to Michigan’s John Harvey Kellogg and the holistic sanitarium he ran at the turn of the century.

“There was a similar largesse in society at that time, the elitists needed a place to go and become well, and John Harvey was way ahead of his time. He was a medical doctor and he provided a much needed environment for these people,” said Ready.

At the end of the meeting, candidates expressed their gratitude to the attending audience. Coun. candidate Terry Sinton, in her closing speech, challenged those present to exercise their right to vote on Nov. 19.

“There’s been people who have sat on your council for the last three years, and if you’ve been happy with the way they’ve worked for you, then you owe it to them to go out on the 19th and vote…,” said Sinton. “On the other hand, if you’ve been unhappy with any or all of those people,  you owe it to yourselves and your families to get out and vote for change.”