Enderby incumbent councillor Earl Shipmaker (left) responds to a question from the floor as the other seven challengers listen during an all-candidate’s forum at the Enderby Seniors Complex.

Enderby incumbent councillor Earl Shipmaker (left) responds to a question from the floor as the other seven challengers listen during an all-candidate’s forum at the Enderby Seniors Complex.

Dowtown highlighted in Enderby forum

Enderby candidates share priorities for downtown at seniors complex forum

The challengers, if elected to Enderby council, would fix up the downtown as their first order of business.

The incumbents have other ideas.

And all agree that the city’s infrastructure needs a focus.

Eight candidates, including the five current sitting councillors, had a chance to answer questions from the public at an all-candidate’s forum Tuesday in front of a near capacity crowd at the Enderby Seniors Complex.

The forum was hosted by the Enderby Chamber of Commerce.

Moderator Anne Pearson asked the candidates what will be the first major issue they plan to tackle if elected or re-elected.

“One of the major issues is seeing our downtown revitalized,” said challenger Tundra Baird. “Put in banners,  more flowers, just things to make our town that much more attractive so people will stop and stay, spend some money and may want to move here.”

Challenger Karen Durant, who only arrived in Enderby with her husband in 2010, said many things need to be done but a downtown revitalization would be a good one.

“Since I’ve been here a number of shops have closed down and haven’t been replaced,” said Durant. “Why are they not being replaced? There are a lot of empty buildings. I’d like to see that cleaned up and more happening in the downtown area.”

For challenger Raquel Knust, a first priority if it was a personal issue, would be installing a public bathroom downtown. If it’s not personal, then it would be the city’s roads.

“When people come to our area and go downtown, there isn’t a facility for them,” said Knust. “Our roadways really need to be looked at. They have to be done so people on wheelchairs and scooters can actually get off and on. It’s very hard for them.”

Incumbent Beryl Ludwig and her four colleagues seeking re-election had other priorities.

For Ludwig, she’d like to see work done on the community gardens.

For Brad Case, it’s working on the long-term implementation of a sustainable infrastructure plan and continuing work with local First Nation groups.

Greg McCune would like to form an Enderby business association that will work on a downtown revitalization, but said all businesses – not just ones downtown – must take part.

Tony Vetter said nothing can be done first until the budget is in place. He’s hopeful there’s money in the budget for lighting up the River Walk trail.

And Earl Shipmaker wants to work on finding a new administrator, treasurer and public works foreman for the city.

Improving the look of Enderby would also help in job creation, as candidates were asked what local government could do to help with creating employment.

“We have to improve the environment to have businesses move to town and provide the jobs, improve our first impression, the look of the city when you come to town, have it look like a vibrant, happening place, a place where my employees are going to want to live and work,” said Case.

Vetter said tourism can play a vital role in job creation.

“We have a beautiful river, and lots of nice parks for people to stop and look at,” said Vetter. “We can  make the town and roads nice, encourage people to stop and live here, and build our businesses here.”

“The thing that we can work on is to have proper services, the services that will entice people to come to this community to live and open businesses,” added McCune.

Shipmaker said council’s role for job creation is one of support.

“It’s our responsibility and duty to work with our chamber of commerce and existing businesses to help them create the jobs that will help keep our people at home,” said Shipmaker.

Ludwig feels education plays a role in that aspect.

“I’m really proud of our storefront school and we should continue to encourage adult education,” said Ludwig. “Our young people, when they graduate, they get a job or go to college. We have a bus now that travels to the college (in Vernon and Kelowna) and we support that.”

Council candidates took a total of four questions during their allotted hour of the two-hour forum.

Mayoral and regional district candidates also answered questions from the floor.