Candidates share views on merger

Amalgamation with Trail holds no appeal for the candidates running for Montrose mayor and Area A director.

Amalgamation with Trail holds no appeal for the candidates running for Montrose mayor and Area A director.

All four candidates who turned out for an election forum in Montrose Tuesday expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm for the Beaver Valley communities getting together, but none was looking to make whoopee with Trail.

“I’m a Beaver Valley Person and that is where I am going,” Mayor Griff Welsh told the 60 people attending the meeting organized by the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce.

With the province considering capping industrial tax rates, Trail is under the fiscal gun and is not an attractive potential partner, he noted.

Councillor Joe Danchuk said he is “in favour of doing the study” on amalgamation that all three Beaver Valley communities are pursuing, “but my first concern is the residents of Montrose.”

He added that Trail is looking into amalgamating Columbia Gardens and the Waneta Dam on its own accord.

Area A director Ali Grieve she, like “everyone involved in the (Beaver Valley) study is committed to making a Beaver Valley district municipality a reality.”

But she noted there are “a number of issues” to be considered and turning the valley into one jurisdiction “is not as easy as you think.

“I’m 100 per cent in favour of making that work. I am not in favour of joining the City of Trail.”

Her challenger, Scott Cohen, indicated that he was “opposed” to joining Trail, but did not have anything else to add.

In his brief opening remarks, Cohen said he wants bus service to Area A expanded and more community involvement through public meetings where citizens can advance “the ideas they have for the area.”

Grieve said she has “the knowledge and experience to ensure that the voice of the Beaver Valley will be heard.”

The debate among the Montrose mayoral candidates was restrained. Candidate Ron Pylypuik did not appear, sending a written statement saying unexplained circumstances prevented his attending.

Welsh stressed his experience and Danchuk his willingness to cooperate in their opening remarks.

Regarding the water boil advisory, both candidates indicated the village is running out of options. If a planned overhaul and disinfection of the wells doesn’t work, then Montrose will likely have to start chlorinating the water supply, both candidates indicated.

Former Mayor Mike Walsh wanted to know why Welsh was unaware of a public works project he called him about. The mayor said he doesn’t “run around the village doing every construction job. My role is to set policy with council.”

The candidates were asked about expanding  service at the Trail Airport. The consensus was that this is a business decision for the airline. As for the facility, further enhancements may prove costly for taxpayers, Welsh noted.

Several citizens expressed opposition to  “smart meters” should they be proposed locally. The candidates   all expressed a lack of knowledge on the subject but a willingness to support the wishes of citizens.