Municipal Candidates forum

Many voters are still seeking information to help them make a decision on Oct 18. We have tried to assist our readers by posting campaign material as we could get a hold of it. This was prompted by a comment by one of our readers, Brian Sanderson who has offered opinions on our posts and who is also one of the few to comment on our Wolfville Wicki space.

Brian was one of the crowd who asked a question of the candidates at the forum at the Wolfville school this evening. We just got back from this performance which was a more honest and exciting airing of town issues than we have seen in some time. Each candidate had his or her little coterie of supporters and as the evening went on, after each had given a 4 or 5 min presentation, the moderator opened the floor to questions.

It was soon clear that there was a marked separation between those who felt that (as we heard one person express it) “Wolfville is a high class, high quality town, and that costs money”  and those who questioned how long they could afford to live here given the relentless tax increases every year, or how new residents, especially young families, could be attracted to the town, given the high cost of housing and the tax burden.

Those well heeled enough not to worry about expenses were concerned with plastic bags and uranium mining and pesticide bans and bicycle lanes. The other camp seemed concerned with affordability, and viable businesses and maintaining infrastructure and institutions such as the school.

Ironically if the person who said Wolfville’s quality life style costs money was asked  whether they wanted a town that young people and people of all walks of life could afford they would say of course, completely unaware of the inconsistency of those two positions.

We have awards to give to each of these runners who have put their names forward and braved the guantlet of public scrutiny.

In the mayoral candidate category- A Red Ribbon goes to Garry Balcolm for spirited delivery. A Palme D’or goes to Jeff Cantwell for best balancing act.  The Cordon Blue goes to Bob Stead for the healthiest look (Great tan Bob!).   Purple heart goes to George Townsend for the bravest performance.

In the Councillor candidate category:

Ann Anderson and Sheila Richardson tie for the “I am Woman, hear me roar” award. We suggest they both also get a free life time membership to the Raging Grannies.

To Peter Drummond goes the “keep to the point” award for concise presentation.

To Eric Hughes goes two awards- one for youngest and freshest approach and another for best dressed candidate.

To Keith Irving goes the CFA award for best CV and for attention to Wolfville’s built heritage.

Jim Laceby gets the black Dahlia literary award for best metaphor.

The leaf and dove peace statuette goes to David Mangle – who else.

Carl Oldham wins the “common sense is not dead” trophy.

The thermopylae spear and shield is awarded to Hugh Simpson for a continued brave stand against strong odds.

To Bob Wrye, the “trust me” award for his over my dead body statement that R1 will be preserved.

And last but not least – the Em My Tee shirt award goes to Bill Zimmerman for the most exasperated display for his  ” I know what I am talking about, you don’t” tone and body language.

In the Questioner category:

Best question award, hands down, goes to Harold Stewart who asked what council could do to help him stay in his house in Wolfville once he retired.

And the best in show  grand prize for most surprising statement goes to Bob Stead for his assertion that the Wolfville school  was absolutely safe, its continued existence guaranteed by the School Board. Hope you got that in writing, Bob, and it must give other communities around pause when their schools are up for review with no such guarantee before the process is fully played out. We expect they would like to know what makes Wolfville so special.

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6 responses to “Municipal Candidates forum

  1. Keep up the good work WW.Love your witty comments,
    Can’t wait to see what is written in the local Advertiser 😉
    Maybe the existence of the school can be guaranteed if some Wolfville parents took their kids out of the French school in New Minas.

  2. Robert G. Holmes

    Such a wit!

    It was somewhat alarming that the proponents for change and new direction seemed to be offering a ‘purchase clerk’ approach to Town spending, while alluding to tinkering of the tax rate.

    The well endowed pensioners are sending a message.

    Forget environmental and social issues for now.

    Pick up the garbage on your way out.

  3. We saw 3 new candidates for mayor that had a clear focus on keeping a lid on taxes. As I recall, two of the new candidates proposed to carefully scrutinize spending — the third to focus on setting priorities in order to keep spending under control. (If I got it wrong, please let them correct me.) Nothing revolutionary here, just plain old common sense.

    The incumbent nailed his flag to the mast with the shambolic process some of us witnessed with the last budget… Heck, it was abundantly obvious that Stead et al., had not thought much about setting priorities to control the bottom line. They were governing the town as though it was a cost-plus monopoly that could afford to be totally contemptuous of the tax payers.

    To be fair to Stead et al., the format for the budget is dictated by provincial government — for obscure provincial priorities — and was totally useless as a tool for understanding how the money was really being spent.

    With the common sense vote split 3-ways, will the status quo prevail?

    PS to Robert Holmes.
    The last placed I lived, they picked up the garbage twice as often and taxes were one-quarter as high on a property worth considerably more… If there are some “well endowed pensioners” around here, we might be wise to ask them for a bit of help to sort out the mess we are in…

  4. Robert G. Holmes

    Just drove the nearly completed Sherwood Drive reconstruction.

    My compliments to the current Town administration for getting it right.

    Real honest to goodness low profile concrete curbs and sidewalks.

    Compared to the other low standard asphalt curb and sidewalk street reconstruction, this is a progressive move to the future. When may we expect similar improvements to the Wickwire/Earnscliff bus loop?

    What standard of street reconstruction do alternative mayoral candidates wish to lay on us?

  5. Yes, you can sure tell it is an election year. They are finally doing something about Ridge road too we see. We shall see how Sherwood holds up over time and whether this crew really knew what they were doing. Have you asked the trades about their rep? Unless of course that is just sour grapes.

    Perhaps you might like to read our comments on the corduroy nature of the new paving done in 2005 at the top of Gaspereau and Main contracted by this same administration. At the time we had photos.

    Your comment indicates a concern for an infrastructure priority which we would agree with. The present administration would like everyone to think that keeping the budget lean would cut services and infrastructure improvements. There are many areas where expenses could be cut without trimming those basic services. There is a consensus in the town over providing these services . Our criticism has often been about misplaced priorities, priorities about which there has NOT been consensus, as much as over spending. Had we seen value for our taxes we wouldn’t be as critical. But we haven’t.

  6. I thought the asphalt curbing was local comedy… put it up in the fall and knock it down in the winter… trip over it spring and sumer. Reminded me of that old Benny Hill show which had the labourers moving the hole from one end of the garden to the other. Like Mayor Stead says in his newsletter, “It really doesn’t get better than this!”

    Seriously, I thought it would have made sense to do lower Wickwire as part of that assisted living development?

    So when are the residents of Sherwood throwing their street party? Can’t wait to see your fancy new curbing.

    I’ll BBQ a sheep for all at the top end of Wickwire if that ever gets decent footpaths! (Not that I want to force any ones hand — I’d sort of miss the thrill of dodging the out-of-control cars careening down the street in winter…. keeps me light on my toes.)