Candidates face off at forum

All-candidates forum in 100 Mile House gave voters a chance to ask questions

Local civic election candidates outlined their platforms at an all-candidates forum on Nov. 8. Included in the race for District of 100 Mile House mayoralty are Maureen Pinkney

Local civic election candidates outlined their platforms at an all-candidates forum on Nov. 8. Included in the race for District of 100 Mile House mayoralty are Maureen Pinkney

The all-candidates forum held Nov. 8 attracted nearly 60 people to hear the platforms of the six local civic election candidates.

Sponsored by the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce (SCCC), the forum was moderated by M-J Cousins, and SCCC president Vern Peever timed each candidate to keep everything brief and equitable, including opening speeches, responses to questions and final remarks.

Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Area H candidates Ron Lister and Margo Wagner, both new to public office, clarified their beneficial experience specifically related to the position.

Incumbent Area L Director Bruce Rattray and candidate Tom Baraniak each addressed issues they felt were crucial to their communities.

District of 100 Mile House incumbent Mayor Mitch Campsall and opposing candidate Maureen Pinkney addressed the issues and questions posed by the crowd.

In her platform, Pinkney outlined her prior experience during her six years on the CRD board, and in the past three years, her work as an alternate director with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

Pinkney said she wants to bring 100 Mile back to the promising status it had when she was growing up in the area.

This can be done through moving forward with new industry, bringing in young families and attaining community sustainability, she added.

“I am running for the mayor of 100 Mile House because I think it’s time for change, and I feel that I am the right person to bring about this change.”

Campsall talked about the “crucial” aspect of his experience on council during the past 14 years, including three as mayor.

Currently first vice-president of the North Central Local Government Association, and slated to become its president in May 2012, this will also secure him a seat in the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), he said, adding he’s also a director of the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“Because I sit on these boards, the network brings many benefits to our community, such as the organized crime and marijuana grow op task force, which was started because of a letter from my office.”

Among the several questions posed, area residents asked the mayoral candidates how they would deal with the “crumbling” infrastructure in 100 Mile House, and what is the most important issues facing the South Cariboo in the next two years.

Pinkney said it is “ridiculous” the sidewalks are in “terrible shape,” and she would utilize grants to bring those to the condition they “should have been 30 years ago,” and install sidewalks in those subdivisions where none exist.

Her number 1 issue is procuring “jobs, jobs, jobs” by getting more industries here, she added, otherwise “none of us will be here.”

This will involve “working really hard,” and offering incentives, she said, adding some communities entice industry with free land.

Campsall agreed district sidewalks are an issue, and said certain areas used by senior citizens do need upgrading.

He explained council mandates these in new subdivisions and has “put more money into reserves for infrastructure than has been [there] in a long time.”

The mayor explained, “People have to realize” the costs and impacts to install sidewalks include aspects of drainage and digging up roads for storm sewers, which becomes “very expensive.”

The main concern Campsall outlined is the increase in marijuana grow operations and organized crime coming to the area. This is a big and “scary” concern, he said, adding innocent residents are “going to get hurt” as a result of related activities.