Health care, growth, safe communities, recreation and more support for seniors were priorities outlined Wednesday during the Town of Stettler all-candidates’ council forum.
Election day is this Monday, Oct. 21.
Less than 100 people showed up at the Stettler Agriplex pavilion to hear challengers Will Brown, Zachary Jackson, Sean Nolls, Karen Sernecky, James (Jim) Smith and Wayne Tebbe, and incumbents Darcy Bachman, Al Campbell, Malcolm Fischer, Peter Simons and Steven Wildeboer.
Enhanced health care was a dominant concern as the candidates were asked about council priorities.
“Health care, recreation and environmental protection and safety in the community are my top priorities,” Tebbe said.
Jackson said he would fight for better options in health care.
The incumbents were mostly in agreement on that issue.
“We want to make Stettler a hub for health care,” Campbell said.
“Health care is something we need to focus on,” Wildeboer said, noting that he doesn’t want to see people have to travel to other communities for such services.
“I want to see upgrades at the hospital,” said Bachman, who wants the town and county to continue to work together on projects.
Growth was another key issue.
“I want to see sustainable population growth to get more businesses, services and doctors,” Nolls said.
“Education and culture are keys to growth,” Smith said.
Sernecky said the new skatepark will be an asset.
“I want to see the skatepark get rolling,” she said.
Simons said he wants council to work in joint-use agreements with other municipalities and school divisions and work closely with them.
To attract more business and clean up the environment, Fischer said he wants to see former fuel stations — brownfields — cleaned up to make way for new business.
Brown called on the council to adopt a community standards bylaw to raise the safety of citizens and thwart undesirable behaviour.
With a growing population of active seniors, candidates called for more programs, services and housing.
“I hope we never lose sight of our seniors, and provide for an abundance of activities,” Wildeboer said.
“They have a ton of energy and we need to provide more activities daily for them,” said Nolls, who suggested the town attempt to host the Alberta Seniors’ Games.
Sernecky said she hopes more is done for seniors.
A new seniors’ centre at Stettler Recreation Centre will play a vital role for seniors activities, Fischer said.
Residents, however, are upset that the seniors’ centre is upstairs in a building that’s already busy.
Bachman said council has discussed hiring a program director for seniors.
More seniors’ housing will be required, said Brown and Simons.
Jackson said accessibility is required and Tebbe suggested that seniors be asked about what they want for programs and services.