The deadline for candidates to file for this year’s election is next Friday, Oct. 10. So far, unlike the last election, we’ve seen many candidates announce early. What’s become clear is that a slate of candidates centred around the Focus Revelstoke group has emerged to challenge the existing council —most of whom it appears will be running for re-election.
The message from all the challengers has been pretty much the same — that the city has to do more to make it easier for businesses in Revelstoke. Generally, this means reducing or at least slowing spending in order to limit tax hikes.
It also means being more pro-active in trying to attract new businesses.
On the first issue – spending – the challengers have a pretty good argument to make. Graham Inglis, the director of finance for the City of Revelstoke, has issued grave warnings about the city’s finances in his last few reports to council. Revelstoke has higher debt and spends more than almost all similar communities.
On the second issue – attracting new business – the argument is not as sound. New businesses are opening. The number of business licenses issued by the city is at an all-time, the value of building permits is up slightly (due to new home construction), and hotel revenue is up. While those numbers don’t tell you how successful existing businesses are, on the surface the situation doesn’t appear to be that gloomy.
While the focus of the election will likely be on spending and the economy, there are other issues. As I looked at in this issue, Revelstoke faces several infrastructure challenges that will have to be dealt with in the coming years.
We have also been collaborating with the Social Development Committee on a series of articles about poverty. The articles showcase some of the social issues facing a large section of the community.
Moving forward, I’ll be putting questions directly to the candidates and will publish their responses in the paper in the weeks leading up to election day. With that in mind, I want to know what issues are important to you. If you have a question you want asked, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll put it to them.
There’s five weeks from the deadline to file nomination papers to election day. That gives time to ask five questions, and I’m hoping to ask ones that really showcase the concerns of the community and not just the ones I can come up with.