Candidates weigh in on various issues at forum
2017 Election: More than 50 citizens attend Longview event
Thursday, Oct 12, 2017 12:58 pm
Four councillors vying for a three seats on Longview council faced more than 45 questions from voters addressing an array of topics in the village.
During the candidates forum in the Longview Community Hall Oct. 10, Walter Fox, Christina Weir and incumbents Carole MacLeod and Kathie Wight fielded questions covering issues addressing the village’s aging infrastructure, tourism, bylaws, the village’s emergency alert system and many others.
One of the hottest topics was council’s effort to bring its land use bylaw up to date. Council recently passed first reading for revisions made to the document and is leaving the next step up to the new council following the Oct. 16 municipal election.
One of the questions from the public questioned the need to spend $22,000 to have the document updated.
“Yes, that’s a lot of money and people can huff and puff but we need a land use bylaw that is consistent so it can be followed properly so we don’t have any confusion as to what can happen in the village,” said MacLeod, who has served on council six years.
MacLeod said the public expressed concerns about various parts of the bylaw at council meetings and council has been working on those.
“Any changes or recommendations that council will be looking at will be done in the open so that people can really have a good sense of where this bylaw is going,” she said. “The more letters you have coming in with your concerns the more new council can take that into consideration when they are doing the revisions to it.”
One question raised about the land use bylaw was council’s opinion on long-term parking of recreational vehicles in residential areas.
“The ball has been dropped in terms of enforcing the bylaw,” said MacLeod. “We need to start enforcing the bylaw that has been in place for several years. Our streets are narrow as it is and having trailers in our streets for a long period of time is not a safe procedure to have in place.”
Wight, who’s served one term on council, agrees that parking recreational vehicles in residential areas long-term creates a safety issue.
“They are very narrow roads and they don’t need to be on there for any length of time,” she said.
When asked if council will allow public input on the various items within the land use bylaw, Fox, who’s lived in Longview for a year, said it’s important to hear from residents.
“Public input is definitely wanted,” he said.
Wight said that’s why future direction on the land use bylaw has been deferred to the new council.
“It’s so we can have public output if needed before anything is done,” she said. “Nothing has been decided on yet.”
Another question raised at the forum asked the incumbents’ opinion on the Everbridge safe communities emergency alert system.
MacLeod said Longview and surrounding communities signed up for the system following the 2013 flood. While the village spent under $1,200 for a three-year contract for the service, there have been issues.
“I don’t feel Longview is benefitting from this very well,” she said. “The alerts never seem to go out on time and they don’t seem to reach all the people they need to.”
MacLeod said the contract is coming up for renewal and it will be up to the new council to make a decision.
“I don’t think it’s money well spent,” she said.
Wight said she expected a better system.
“The village hasn’t taken full advantage of the services but if it’s not working and if there are problems it doesn’t make much sense to do that,” she said, referring to the system’s ability to put out notices about community events. “If it’s not working, new council should look at a new plan to get alerts out.”
Another question brought to the candidates is their goals for the village.
Weir said she would like to see the rodeo return to Longview and council move forward on branding initiatives.
“I would like it to become a destination and not just a drive through on the way to Kananaskis,” she said of Longview.
MacLeod said her top priority, if elected, is repairing the village’s water and sewer infrastructure.
Fox said he would also like to see the water and sewer lines repaired, as well as attract more families and businesses to the village to grow its tax base.
When asked about their plans to increase village revenue, Weir reiterated her desire to see the rodeo return to Longview, as well as Longview strategize with Alberta Tourism, the village’s branding committee and the economic development committee to put Longview on the map as a tourist destination.
Voters go to the polls Oct. 16 in the Longview Community Hall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Once a new council has been elected, it will appoint a mayor for the term.