Around 60 people logged in to hear from Turner Valley’s nine council candidates during an online forum held Oct. 6.
Outgoing councillor Jamie Wilkie planned and moderated the forum and said he was happy with the turnout.
“It was a little over 50 at one point and people were in and out so I would estimate about 60 people showed up,” Wilkie said. “I’m pretty happy with that. When they did these in person, there was around the same number.”
Around the same number of people came out to the 2019 Turner Valley by-election forum and only around 13 people came to a forum for the 2013 municipal election. On the other hand, the 2017 forums were well attended as the Turner Valley Valley Ratepayers Group created interest in the election.
“That election was slightly more contentious, but this one is less contentious,” Wilkie said. “I was quite happy with that many people coming out.”
The Town also has a history of an acclaimed council when only six people are nominated for the six positions. Wilkie said it is nice to see the democratic process in action.
“There are five people re-running and new people and I think whoever gets elected, it’s a great group of candidates,” he said. “We’ve got a good problem in Turner Valley which is you’ve got to choose from a bunch of really good people.”
Candidates were asked about amalgamation, attracting downtown businesses, provincial versus municipal taxes, holding contractors to completion deadlines, handling conflict and councillor training.
Councillors each had two minutes to respond to questions and five minutes at the outset to introduce themselves.
To view the forum click here.
Wilkie said seeing people take an interest in their municipal candidates is encouraging.
“We’ve got a very engaged town these days, which is fantastic,” he said.
The forum was planned to be both online and in-person at the empty lot next to the post office but had to be moved solely online when the Province changed outdoor gatherings to 20 people
“It was a pretty seamless transition,” Wilkie said. “I think the big thing these days is to always have a plan B.”
Turner Valley’s mayor, Barry Crane, went unchallenged and was acclaimed Sept. 20, but also attended the online forum.