On Nov. 12, over 100 Creston Valley residents attended a public forum for candidates running in the Nov. 19 civic elections. Organized by Tamara Fox, Joanne Ferry and Jesse Willicome (who acted as moderator), the forum was the only opportunity for voters to question the candidates running for town council, mayor and Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B director.
Of Creston’s 13 town council candidates, 10 — Justin Lysohirka, Ingrid Voigt, Malcolm Ferguson, Renee Kyle, Scott Veitch, Wes Graham, Rhonda Barter, Ed Vondracek, Joanna Wilson and Jerry Schmalz — attended, while Tanya Ducharme, Judy Gadicke and Louis Mihaly did not.
Both candidates for mayor, Ron Toyota and Joe Snopek, attended, although Toyota didn’t arrived until the fifth question was read.
Ed McNiven was the sole RDCK candidate at the forum; incumbent John Kettle did not attend.
The candidates fielded both pre-selected questions and impromptu questions from the audience.
Directed at Ron Toyota and Joe Snopek, an audience member commented that taxes have doubled in the last five years. Can we afford an administration that’s over $1 million when our work force is just about that amount? Do you feel that our administration is top-heavy and do you intend to do something about it or do you intend to keep hiring people at $123,000?
Ron Toyota: “We have cut back on our senior management. That’s what we did in the last three years. … There’s process, and you have to do it properly or you will be sorry, and you will have litigation. We have no litigation at this point with our present council. But we have worked on reducing our management.”
Joe Snopek: “To hire municipal workers today, they’re one of the scarcest commodities, and the price ranges are, if you’re looking for top executives, they’re up there. I suggest that we get down and start getting people who are just starting out and they learn with the council and move forward, and you can cut a fair amount of wages there.”