Glen Taylor (left) listens as Richard Enns responds to a question at the Coldstream all-candidates forum at the Women’s Institute Hall Thursday.

Glen Taylor (left) listens as Richard Enns responds to a question at the Coldstream all-candidates forum at the Women’s Institute Hall Thursday.

Election 2014: Candidates take on issues at forum

District of Coldstream: There doesn’t appear to be significant differences among Coldstream candidates on major issues.

There doesn’t appear to be significant differences among Coldstream candidates on major issues.

Similar approaches were generally evident as the seven candidates for councillor went before about 80 people at a Coldstream Ratepayers Association forum Thursday.

Among the topics discussed at the Coldstream Women’s Institute Hall was possible amalgamation with the rest of Greater Vernon.

“Vernon has huge challenges with infrastructure and it’s a burden Coldstream doesn’t want to take on,” said incumbent Richard Enns.

Glen Taylor, who is a former councillor, limited his response to one word — “No.”

Incumbent Peter McClean pointed out that the issue has surfaced before and “we’re not interested in amalgamation.”

Gyula Kiss, an incumbent, was clear about his position.

“I wouldn’t ask you to vote for me if I was for amalgamation,” he said.

Incumbent Pat Cochrane admits governance changes may eventually occur in the future, but he will not be the catalyst.

“I certainly won’t initiate any discussion over the next four years,” he said.

Shane Hillman, who is running for the first time,  says he has looked at the governance issue.

“We need to work closely with our neighbours but amalgamation isn’t the answer,” he said.

Like Taylor, incumbent Doug Dirk didn’t mince words with his response — “No.”

Candidates were also asked if they would make a pedestrian path on Aberdeen Road a priority.

“It will be a capital project but I can’t say where I would put it (in importance) because every year we have to look at the budget and projects,” said Dirk.

Hillman says he is committed to ensuring children are safe when walking or riding bicycles.

“It’s something I want to seriously look at,” he said.

Cochrane insists current council is aware of the concerns of residents.

“Over the long-term, the work will be done but we have to fit it in with other capital projects,” he said.

Kiss linked the pressure for a pedestrian path to the Vernon School District’s decision to end school bus service on Aberdeen Road.

“We were snookered by the school board and we didn’t know they were going to do what they did.”

McClean says issues like this have surfaced because Coldstream is shifting from an agricultural to urban community.

“It is a high priority but Aberdeen Road is not the only one in the district. We have to look at all of them,” he said.

Taylor says safety hazards are a priority.

“I’m here to make the community safe for future generations,” he said.

Enns also wants to take action on improving pedestrian activities. “It’s time to do Aberdeen Road. It’s a school-centred neighbourhood over there,” he said.

The other primary issue during the forum was the $70 million borrowing referendum for the master water plan. All of the candidates, except for Hillman, stated they would vote no.