More than 30 people attended the Port Edward all candidate forum at the Port Edward Community Centre on Oct. 3. (Photo: Supplied)

More than 30 people attended the Port Edward all candidate forum at the Port Edward Community Centre on Oct. 3. (Photo: Supplied)

Port Edward’s election candidates share their vision at public forum

Discussion topics included housing, sustainability, rail safety and more

More than 30 people attended the all-candidates forum at the Port Edward Community Centre on Oct. 3 to hear what the municipal electoral nominees had to say.

The event was hosted by the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce (PRDCC) with Hannah Philippson-Madil, a director at PRDCC, as the moderator and Danielle Dalton, from Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, as a panellist asking the loaded questions.

“It went quite well, we had a big turnout,” Matthew Kloepper, vice president of the PRDCC said.

“I think we were full for all the chairs we had in the room.”

Every candidate running in this year’s district election was present, including the three nominees running for mayor, incumbent Knut Bjorndal, Shawn Pettitt and Carl Schmidt. The five competitors running for council, James Brown, Dan Franzen, Christine MacKenzie, Colleen McDonald and Kevin Mudge, were all in attendance.

Candidates were asked how the community can increase the affordable housing supply, improve railroad safety and make the community more environmentally sustainable. They were also given the opportunity to comment on where they stood with implementing a recycling pick-up program, their solutions to an increased police presence for the community and what each candidate’s future Port Edward would look like.

After feedback about the previous year’s questions not being relevant to community members, the PRDCC ensured that this year they only collected questions from citizens, which Kloepper said was appreciated by the audience in attendance.

There was also an opportunity for the public to ask questions which were the “spicier” ones, panellist Dalton said.

She explained that a husband and wife told the candidates their struggles when they wanted to build a greenhouse, only to be deterred by barriers from the district which would require them to pay $6,000 before they started construction.

It was a great question, especially after the candidates had already answered how they would make the community more sustainable, Dalton said.

“It got to open some good conversation, finishing with — we’re going to be looking at these bylaws because we want to be more sustainable and we want to be more supportive of the people in our community.”

Overall she thought the forum was well done and the candidates were well prepared.

It is extremely important to have an organized forum to ask mayoral and councillor candidates questions, Kloepper said.

“There was a lot of discussion around, ‘come talk to me at the post office or if you see me at the store, let me know what you think or if I’m walking my dog.’ It’s a very common occurrence but [the forum] allows for really focused discussion around important topics to the community.”

The municipal election is Oct. 15.

Election 2022

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