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Didsbury election candidates respond to chamber questions

The Didsbury Chamber Thinking Outside the Box Candidate Forum saw the candidates submit video replies to the questions
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DIDSBURY - Candidates running for mayor and council seats in the 2021 municipal election have taken part in a unique question and answer project where they answered questions from the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce.

The Didsbury Chamber Thinking Outside the Box Candidate Forum saw the candidates submit video replies to the questions by Oct. 1. 

On Oct. 4 the videos were posted on the chamber’s social media sites and will remain up until the Oct. 18 municipal election.

The questions posed to all the candidates were as follows:

• Strengthening Business Competitiveness - During the pandemic, we saw municipalities around the province move with incredible speed to accelerate permit approval processes for businesses to construct or expand patios. How would you propose that sense of urgency be applied to all permit approval processes to support business growth in our community?

• Growing Business Partnerships - Our chamber network has been regularly monitoring and measuring barriers to business in our community and communities across the province. Do you see opportunity to work together with business to establish a framework of measurement to improve services and make our community more attractive to investment?

• Building Healthy Communities - Access to affordable housing is a major barrier to providing livable communities and attracting and retaining skills that can support business growth. What are you views on ensuring affordable housing is available in our community?

• Improving Government Accountability - If elected, how would you propose our community be made aware of the efforts by local leaders to improve business services on an ongoing basis?

Rhonda Hunter and Erhard Poggemiller are running for mayor. There are 15 candidates running for six council seats. Responses provided through the Didsbury Chamber Thinking Outside the Box Candidate forum include the following:

• Mayor candidate Erhard Poggemiller said the following, in part, to the Improving Government Accountability question: “There have been issues where there has been a lack of communication with businesses and the town. We could look at town personnel making in-person followup with those affected businesses to address any concerns that businesses may have with the services taking place. On major projects we should be discussing avenues together as to how these projects will affect them and thereby we can mitigate any risks.”

• Mayor candidate Rhonda Hunter said the following, in part, to the Strengthening Business Competitiveness question: “I’m confident that efficiency in permitting is our goal and objective. An ongoing review of permit processes and efficiency by those who issue and receive them, which I do believe is happening, is the approach that makes things happen to support business growth in our community.”

• Council candidate Fred Van Vliet said the following, in part, in response to Improving Government Accountability question: “We really have to celebrate our successes and we also have to face our failures. We need a consolidated front of both our goals and our efforts to get there. We really do have a beautiful town. We have to be front and foremost about our abilities to serve.”

• Council candidate Dallas Lammiman said the following, in part, in response to the Strengthening Business Competitiveness question: “Cutting out the red tape, getting some clarity on our policies and bylaws and making it friendlier for businesses to do business in town is the first step. The second step is saying businesses in Didsbury are essential to our community. They are essential to the people they serve and who use their services, and they are essential to the people who run them and rely on them.”

• Council candidate Melynda Crampton said the following, in part, to the Growing Business Partnership question: “I absolutely see an opportunity to work together and I look forward to it. I believe that a community that people want to move to is a community that will bring investment. I look forward to further engaging with the chamber and our valued businesses.”

• Council candidate Ethan Williams said the following, in part, to the Improving Government Accountability questions: “I would like to produce a two or three minute video after every council meeting and post it that night or the next day highlighting what was missed and how I voted on it and discuss the topics of the day to the pubic and also run a social media update. This is a great way to be more accountable to the people.”

• Council candidate Sheree Andrews said the following, in part, to the Building Healthy Communities question: “This is a passion of mine. I am really sure about how much we need affordable housing in our community. I really have a passion for finding ways to bring true affordable housing (to Didsbury). That is something I want to do, to get that work done from the inside.”

• Council candidate Dorothy Moore said the following, in part, to the Improving Government Accountability question: “I definitely like in-person feedback and input and look forward to having that again. I find that informal opportunities outside council meetings for residents and business to interact more fully with councillors provides the most helpful and complete input to council. I believe that we should consult residents whenever possible.”

• Council candidate Bill Windsor said the following, in part, to the Growing Business Partnerships question: “With the hiring of a full-time professional economic development officer and the establishment of an economic advisory committee, I believe that the prospect for attracting business investment is very bright indeed. I am all about building community.”

• Council candidate Berent Hamm said the following, in part, to the Growing Business Partnerships question: “Any framework must be agile. If it is too rigid it could result in unintended consequences. It is important to acknowledge that we do not have all the answers. To effectively move forward we must acknowledge and state our assumptions, set out goals and targets that can be measured, seek feedback and learn quickly.”

• Council candidate David Cunningham said the following, in part, to the Growing Business Partnerships question: “I would encourage businesses to work with town council to make Didsbury the place to do business so others will spread the word. Cut the red tape and streamline our approval processes. We need to get your property taxes under control. For the amount we pay in taxes and the poor return on investment, something isn’t adding up.”

• Council candidate Curt Engel said the following, in part, to the Strengthening Business Competitiveness question: “It is imperative that we adopt solutions through new technologies without compromising the review of standards. The less cumbersome the process, the more cost reduction we can enjoy. Council needs to make the policy and provide the required resources to the department if we are to expect positive results.”

• Council candidate Kim Moore said the following, in part, to the Growing Business Partnerships question: “I am always willing to work with businesses to better our community by having new ones come in so that they may grow and for the existing businesses that we already have growing like they are. It’s always a good and fair trade when that’s working.”

Council candidates John Baswick, Joyce McCoy, Valerie Neilson did not immediately respond to the chamber’s questions, said president Helen Hafke, noting she was pleased with the participation of those candidates who did submit videos.

The complete videos are posted on the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

 



Dan Singleton

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