The three people who want to be the next mayor of Estevan articulated their vision for the future of the city during a candidates' forum October 9 at the Estevan Royal Canadian Legion.
Councillor Lynn Chipley, Jim Halladay and Councillor Roy Ludwig offered their ideas, and answered questions from the host Estevan Chamber of Commerce and the public. Nearly 100 people attended the debate.
Chipley has been on Council for the last six years, and she has pushed to change the community's appearance and attitude. She wants to create a vibrant, safe and connected community.
She believes Estevan is in need of fresh, long-term planning.
"We have to start doing things right the first time," said Chipley. "Nothing makes taxpayers angrier than seeing their tax dollars wasted. Without a clear vision, and a solid plan, we're not likely to get things consistently right."
Council will be reactive, rather than proactive without that plan, she said, and they'll be constantly putting out fires. If she's elected mayor, representatives from every sector of the community will be brought together to get a clear idea of the community's direction.
Any city in the world would be thrilled to have the agriculture, mining, oil and power production sectors that are the backbone of Estevan, she said. Estevan residents should be proud to be in such a diverse community.
Halladay is going for the mayor's job in his first attempted foray into civic politics. He has been in the community for 46 years, and has been the owner/operator of M&H Taxi for the last 40 years.
He said he wants to see Estevan continue to grow, and that the community has done remarkable things in the past.
"But I think it's time that we take some steps back, and then go ahead big-time, because we have a tax base here that we need to improve on, and we definitely have a lot of work to do on our infrastructure," said Halladay.
There are some resources that the City hasn't capitalized on. The streets have been punished with all the heavy truck traffic passing through the community. The delays with the truck route have proven to be a problem.
"With me driving every day on the streets in the city of Estevan, I know exactly where I'm coming from," said Halladay.
Ludwig has 18 years of experience as a councillor. He recapped his experience on Council, and the committees that he's served with. He was the chairperson of the Spectra Place building committee, as well as the Southeast Health Care Committee that is trying to attract physicians to Estevan and new services to St. Joseph's Hospital. He's also part of the new nursing home committee.
Ludwig also took a five-year labour relations course through Athabasca University that has helped him with Council and other avenues.
"With my personal and professional experience, as well as extensive municipal experience, with 18 continuous years on City Council, I believe I have the necessary tools, with Council's support, to continue to improve and promote our city," he said.
Ludwig would like to see progress made on affordable housing, fiscal responsibility, the truck route, the new regional nursing home, and local parks, and he wants a balanced team approach for the new Council.
Each candidate answered a trio of questions from the Chamber: what they would do to ensure the City is a leader in the community in the short-term and the long-term; how they would improve quality of life for residents and the business community; and what their plan is for the future.
People from the community were also able to pose questions to the candidates.
Estevan residents will go to the polls to elect a new mayor on October 24.