With municipal elections just around the corner Chestermere residents are tasked with the difficult choice to vote for who they feel will represent them on town council. Out of a possible 19 candidates, there can only be 6 councillors elected to town council. Chestermere voters were given the opportunity to meet them all during the YELL candidate’s forum on Wednesday, October 9.
It was a packed house by 6 p.m., when all 19 candidates took their seat on stage at the Chestermere Rec Centre. The evening was broken up into 4 main components with the format allowing each candidate a 2 ½ minute introduction at the beginning.
Once intros were out of the way, youth volunteers held a rapid fire question period, which consisted of all candidates being asked the same yes or no question at the same time and to answer they simply had to hold up either a green card for a proud Yes, or red card for a proud No. Although this was intended to be a fast and concise method of questioning, some of the candidates at times had troubles answering clearly, flip flopping their cards back and forth or simply not answering at all due to the complexity of the questions. Questions in this series included topics such as how long candidates have been residents, whether or not they have attended council meeting, as well as their views on hotel development, regional planning, education and residential taxes.
Next, the large group was broken up in to 3 smaller groups, each person being allowed one minute to briefly answer a series of questions as well as include their opinion on things like recycling, bylaw, taxes and recreation. No questions were taken from the audience, instead written questions that were submitted prior to candidates taking the stage were used.
Finally, each candidate was given one last minute for a conclusion. For the most part we heard why they feel they were the best choice for councillor and how they plan to best represent the residents. The most common words that we heard over and over from the candidates were that of transparency, community connection, growth, development and involvement.
Afterwards, in speaking with many of those residents who attended in an effort to better get to know the candidates, there was a lot of positive feedback regarding the format of the forum.
“Change is in the air” commented one Chestermere resident who attended the forum. Another resident added that “With so many good choices, it will be difficult to make a decision. ” Overall, everyone enjoyed the forum and found it very informative.
The event was hosted by Chestermere’s YELL group (Youth Encouraging Lasting Leadership) and emceed by Patrick Bergen, a former councillor.
With the forum out of the way, and profiles for each candidate listed in last week’s Chestermere Anchor voters should feel more confident casting their vote on Election Day which is Monday, October 21, 2013 at the Chestermere Recreation Centre. Two advance polling dates are also being offered, the first of which was on October 10th and the second will be on October.19th.
Results to the Rapid Fire Question Period can be seen on the YELL website at www.truesynergy.ca