Infrastructure, housing and attracting businesses were major themes at Barriere’s All Candidates Forum

Dozens of Barriere area residents poured in the North Thompson Fall Fair Hall on Thursday, Oct. 4, to hear from the nine candidates vying for six councillor seats and two candidates for the mayor’s chair.

The All Candidates Forum was put on by the Barriere & Area Chamber of Commerce.

Councillors Mike Fennell and Ward Stamer are running for mayor, councillors Donna Kibble, Pat Paula, Amanda Sabyan and Al Fortin are re-running and new faces Linda Altenhofen, Judy Armstrong, Rob Kerslake, Scott Kershaw and Shane Quiding are running for council.

Amanda Sabyan was absent from the forum due to an unexpected illness.

After event volunteers were thanked and the Simpcw First Nation council members in attendance were acknowledged, the forum got underway.

Improving infrastructure, affordable rental housing and bringing business to Barriere were common themes throughout the forum.

The candidates unanimously agreed that Barriere needs more affordable housing and more rental units. Each spoke about the importance of being able to house newcomers if the town is going to grow.

Kershaw pointed out that there are over 500 residential lots in town, five of which are zoned for multi-family units. Of those five, four are already developed.

First and foremost, he said the new council will have to re zone properties to give investors the opportunity to build rental units.

Stamer said there are a lot of government funding opportunities for creating housing and that council won’t have to pay out much money. They’ll just have to get the demographics and application together.

Fennell agreed that they’ll be applying for available funding, but suggested that first, they need to get the banks to recognize Barriere as a viable investment or they won’t finance developments.

When asked what they would do with the HY Louie building, the candidates were split on whether to sell it, fix it up to rent it out, or potentially move the district chambers into it.

Fennell defended the purchase, saying the land it sits on was worth the money they paid for it. He said he’s of the mind that half of it would someday house the city chambers while the other half could be rented to business(es).

Paula agreed, the building could be the future site of the district offices and city hall plus other businesses could rent space in it.

Kerslake suggested it would cost a lot to fix the building but that they might be able to get something for it if they find the right business to sell to.

Kershaw was on the same page, saying he’d rather sell the building and collect tax revenue from the business developing it. After all, they can’t tax their own office, he said.

Fortin said they don’t have any money to do anything with that building.

Armstrong said she didn’t think they could get one investor, but perhaps a cluster of businesses could take on that big building. She added that the community fundraised for things like the water park and she thinks they have it in them to take on this building as well.

Quiding suggested a quarter of the building’s space be given to the town’s teenagers.

Kibble was unsure whether it’d be more cost effective to fix it or tear it down, but said they could look into some grants to develop it.

Altenhofen said the building is like dead stock in a store, so they ought to sell it.

Stamer said Fortin’s right, they have no money to develop that building. He said they have a $30,000 municipal hall fund they could put towards purchasing the Ridge if they develop an agreement with the school board. Then he said they could sell the building downtown.

When asked about getting a sign put on Highway 5, to direct traffic to Barriere’s downtown, some of the incumbent councillors expressed their frustration with this process.

Kibble said council has applied for the sign and have been promised it’s coming, but they’ve been waiting for five years to actually see it.

Fennell brought up the sign that still sits within Barriere’s boudaries saying Louis Creek Unincorporated. He said they long ago notified the ministry but it still hasn’t been moved. They may have to move it, themselves, he said.

Voters will head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 20, however, advanced voting is already underway.

Just Posted

Chu Chua now live for 911 Fire Dispatch

Simpcw First Nation, along with the Chu Chua Volunteer Fire Department are… Continue reading

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Barriere Fire Rescue is looking for new members

Barriere Fire Rescue are actively recruiting new members for their brigade. They… Continue reading

Simpcw First Nation holds Swearing In Ceremony

Jules Phillip sworn in as new councillor at a ceremony held Mar. 12 in Chu Chua

Clearwater event features 5 km, 10 km and 21 km courses as well as a kids race

Submitted Mark your calendars—registration is now open for Clearwater’s first annual Candle… Continue reading

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Dutch police question new suspect in deadly tram shooting

Police are looking for additional suspects in the shooting

Starbucks to test recyclable cups, redesign stores in B.C., U.S. cities

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders

In pre-election budget, Liberals boost infrastructure cash to cities, broadband

The budget document says the Liberals have approved more than 33,000 projects, worth about $19.9 billion in federal financing

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Most Read