Rocky View Publishing editor disappointed at low candidates forum attendance
The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce all candidates forum held on Oct. 15 at Bert Church Theatre was informative, respectful and well planned. (See story on page 17).
One thing it was not, was well attended.
In a community of almost 50,000, only 286 came out to hear the platforms of the eight school trustees and 15 alderman candidates.
Those who did attend, heard each and every candidate speak about what they stand for and where they would like to see for Airdrie or the Rocky View School division in the future.
Trustee hopefuls spoke about creating a stronger foundation for our children, attracting and retaining quality teachers and increasing transparency and parent interaction to improve the school system.
These are the people who decide what schools are most in need of portables and which communities in the division they will lobby the Province for to get new infrastructure.
In fact, they determine your childrenís school bus route, what programs are offered in their school and even h during the year.
Aldermen candidates answered questions about local roads, the expansion of the Airdrie Public Library, placement of city firehalls, business incentives, Airdrie health care options and raising taxes.
These are issues that affect every, single resident in Airdrie. These are issues we talk to our friends and neighbours about over a cup of coffee. These are the issues that directly affect us, our family, our children. These are issues that matter.
It is disappointing to see how few people attended the forum to inform themselves about the local candidates.
I truly hope it is not an indication of an even lower voter turnout.
During the last municipal election in 2010, about 600 people attended the all candidates forum and total voter turnout was an abysmal 33 per cent.
This year, advanced polls have already shown a decrease in voter turnout from three years ago. (See story on page 18).
One of the reasons for the decreased interest in this yearís election is the fact there is no mayoral race.
On Sept. 23, Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown was acclaimed when no one else filed nomination papers for the position.
However, residents must realize that the mayor is not the only vote that matters. He is the first among equals.
There are seven people in council chambers when decisions are made. Each and every one of those people vote on your behalf.
They make the decision to put a crosswalk in by your childís school, they ensure your garbage is picked up every week, they determine how much your property tax bill is every spring - all seven of them.
Just because residents do not have a choice of who their mayor is does not mean you canít have a say in the governing of the City for the next four years.
Fifteen people have stepped forward willing to take on the daunting task of helping to run this City.
All residents have to do is inform themselves about which person best represents them and take a few minutes out of their day on Oct. 21 to mark an X beside that personís name.
It sounds cliche but many, people in our world do not have the privilege of choosing the people who make these decisions for them.
They donít have the luxury of deciding if their values align with those who speak on their behalf.
As journalists we often see people stand up after council has made a decision they do not like, which is completely within their right.
However, doesnít it make more sense not to wait until there is an issue you are upset about to have your voice heard.
Ensure the people in local government represent your values and beliefs so these problems are less likely to arise.
Please take the time to make your mark on Oct. 21, these are the people who are going to help shape your familyís life until 2017.