Contenders vie for votes during meet the candidates event

BARRY’S BAY – The Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre was home to The Valley Gazette’s meet the candidates event on September 20.

All candidates were on hand, with the exception of Chad Smith, who did not attend.

After each person introduced themselves to a crowd of more than 250 people, seven questions were randomly drawn, which were submitted previously by the audience.

The first question drawn asked candidates what they each consider a core service in the township, and how they would go about improving each.

Mike Kosnaski is running for a councillor seat and said the hospital is vital for the Madawaska Valley.

“We need to see if we can attract more medical professionals to the area,” he said.

Rural roads, he added, are in a “disgraceful state of disrepair,” and need to be serviced.

Shelley Maika, also running for a councillor seat, recognized the hospital is important, but added that it is not a municipal responsibility. However, she agreed that the roads are vital for taxpayers.

“Without that, nothing happens,” she said. “We get nowhere.”

She noted that the fire department, waste management and planning department are three other key services.

“We need to look for cost efficiencies in those departments,” she said.

Mark Willmer, a councillor candidate, said it is important for council to recognize the difference between wants and needs. He added that many services need to be improved in the township and that’s where a strategic plan comes into play.

Mayoral candidate Kim Love agreed.

Get your September 24, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.