The mayoral candidates speak out

Approximately 75 people showed up to the All Candidates’ Debate held at the Arena Auditorium on Wednesday October 29.

  • Nov. 5, 2014 11:00 a.m.

Trisha Shanks

Arrow Lakes News

Approximately 75 people showed up to the All Candidates’ Debate held at the Arena Auditorium on Wednesday October 29. Despite the title, the only candidates in attendance were current mayor, Karen Hamling and Councillor Guy Duchaine, both running for Mayor. This is thanks to both the Public School Trustees and Village Councillor positions all being acclaimed (same number of candidates as positions.) The two running for mayor sat at a table on a low stage, which also held a podium for moderator Pat Dion.

Both candidates cited improvements to the village hot springs and trails as a high priority and a factor in retaining and increasing tourism to the area. Duchaine said, ”Funding at the federal and provincial level is available to make the campground a little bigger, because it’s very profitable and we are investing in the A-frames to create upgrades.”

Hamling stated that she sees improvements coming from a “Public/private partnership, and CBT can come to the plate on that too. We haven’t had nearly the investment that other communities have had from the CBT.”

An audience member expressed concern about getting more families here, wanting the kids to stay here, teachers to be employed and asked, “What are your plans to keep families here?”

Hamling stated, “Council is “working with development board and the chamber to come up with a solution, but there is no magic bullet here. We will do the best for the community that we can.”

Duchaine took the same question, “Creating work. If we don’t have it, kids aren’t going to stay here. Not going to be easy but it’s feasible.”

Guy Duchaine divided his vision for the next four years into four specific categories: improvement to the hot springs, chalets, campground and the trails going to it; creating work for young adults to encourage them to stay in the village; increasing tourism by having events in and around the area; and providing improvements to the infrastructure for water and sewage. When asked why people should vote for him, Duchaine answered, “It is a time for change in leadership, and I can provide this change. A vote for me would also see a new face at the board of RDCK. New questions would be asked and new ideas introduced at the council.”  Duchaine says a positive attitude is “paramount to success.” He believes that goals can be accomplished by doggedly following through with plans and working toward goals in spite of the obstacles.

Current Mayor, Karen Hamling is concerned about economic diversity in Nakusp. Being able to progress towards once again having well-paying jobs and providing a good living for our young people and families while maintaining utmost support for our more senior residents is vital. She stressed the amount of advocacy she is involved in, promoting Nakusp and providing the building of the ferry as one of her best achievements to date while in office.

Passionately committed to Nakusp, Hamling says, ”I feel very strongly that Nakusp is positioned to move forward economically over the next few years.”

Hamling believes she deserves villagers votes because she has the experience, knowledge and energy to do the job well. During Hamling’s run, she also states Nakusp has had access to a lot of extra cash thanks to her efforts with the various councils bringing in just over $7 million dollars in grant funding to the community for upgrades to the infrastructure.

“These grants for upgrades have provided many jobs in our community as well as saving tax payers huge costs for needed infrastructure replacements,” she explained.

A mere 43 per cent of eligible voters showed up at the polls in 2011, however everyone would like to see those numbers be much higher this year. For detailed information about who is eligible to vote, registering to vote for the first time, hours and more, visit www.elections.bc.ca.