Either way the public votes, Area F is getting an experienced director come Nov. 15.
Both Herman Halvorson, who held the post from 2005-11, and incumbent rural Enderby director Jackie Pearase, flexed their knowledge of the area – which includes Grindrod, Grandview Bench, Ashton Creek, Kingfisher and the recreational area at the south end of Mara Lake – at an all-candidates forum Tuesday night at the seniors centre in Enderby.
“I’m fully committed to do another four years representing all communities,” said Halvorson, 67.
Said Pearase: “My record over the past three years shows initiative and a willingness to listen to residents.
“I have learned what questions to ask, who to ask, and how.”
Topics covered were varied, including the digital sign along the highway, parking issues at Eby’s hand launch along Enderby-Mabel Lake Rd. and the director’s discretionary fund.
Both candidates were in favour of the digital sign, with Halvorson saying: “A lot of communities I talk to would like to advertise on that. I would definitely support that and put dollars towards it.”
While originally opposed to the sign, Pearase has grudgingly come to see value in it.
However, she would like to see an agreement worked out that would make it more inclusive for Area F communities.
“I have found it to be less obnoxious than I thought it was going to be,” said Pearase.
“And I’ve heard from community groups that they do want to use it. We’re working towards something that could be more workable for groups in outside areas…that don’t have much money to throw around.”
Regarding the parking issues at Eby’s, Halvorson said it is a difficult challenge because there really isn’t room to expand it.
“I don’t know how you’re going to solve that besides having a chunk of property you could rent or lease to accommodate vehicles,” he said.
“I’m afraid if we don’t get something looked after there that somebody’s going to get hurt.”
The issue of watershed protection also came up Tuesday, alluding to the washout by Cooke Creek that stranded residents of Mabel Lake in early May.
“I’ve been trying very hard for the province to take responsibility for what has happened up at Cooke Creek, with very little success,” said Pearase.
“It won’t stop us from continuing.”
Pearase would like to have an open dialogue with the Ministry of Forests whenever it plans to do work in the watershed to allow for public input and minimize the impact on the community.
Tuesday’s forum was hosted by the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce.