With the 2011 municipal elections on Saturday, the Trail Daily Times wraps up its preview with profiles on the three mayoral candidates in Montrose.
While the mayoral candidates were interviewed for their profiles, candidates for council, school trustee and director roles were given three questions.
Why are you running for election? What is the biggest issue facing your community? How do you hope to resolve that issue?
Experience a valuable asset
Incumbent Montrose Mayor Griff Welsh said he is not ready to step down from his leadership role in the village.
Welsh has been around the political arena for nine years with six acting as a councillor at the village and the last three as mayor.
“I really love the community and that’s why I first got into politics, was to keep the community up-to-date and now that is seriously getting to be a big item when it comes to infrastructure money,” he said. “Nobody’s got any money but all of this infrastructure is falling apart.”
Welsh said he’d like to see ongoing projects through before resigning from municipal politics.
“I have the knowledge and the experience to deal with . . . serious matters that the village faces from provincial downloading and no grants coming forward to face our infrastructure deficit,” he said.
He holds experience as one of his leadership qualities and dedication.
“I think the only guy who attends more meetings than me is John MacLean from the regional district,” he laughed. “I’m interested in everything that goes on and Montrose has a voice in everything that goes on, even at the regional table.”
Water continues to be a hot topic on tap for the village, which is still on boil-water notice. Montrose has flushed its distribution system, checked samples regularly and is currently rehabilitating its wells.
Welsh sees this as “one more kick at the can” before the village has to consider its next move.
The 13-year Montrose resident is strongly in favour of looking into Beaver Valley amalgamation, but doesn’t think joining forces on a much larger scale with Trail is wise.
“Everybody knows, but Trail doesn’t want to tell anybody, that Teck is going to get capped an instead of paying about 60 per cent of Trail’s taxes, they’ll only pay 50 or maybe 45.”
He believes there are already synergies between Montrose, Fruitvale and Area A, which share the regional district’s Beaver Valley Parks and Trails Recreation Committee.
Water quality a main priority
A former Montrose councillor feels his 37 years in mostly management roles at Teck gives him the experience needed to tackle serious infrastructure challenges ahead.
Joe Danchuk, a Montrose resident for nine years, would like to see council operate as a team and him leading as mayor.
“My background has given me the experience necessary to understand, evaluate and make critical decisions on some of the most important initiatives that the Village of Montrose currently faces with water management,” he said. “These decisions include not just water quality in the short term but water management and conservation over the long term.”
If elected, restoring the village’s water to the highest quality would be his No. 1 priority.
“We need a solution that provides our community with long-term sustainability for the village and its residents.”
He’d also ensure that Montrose continues to access affordable recreation, make “every attempt to keep taxes at the current level,” and give the village a strong regional voice.
Danchuk is in favour of the current Beaver Valley amalgamation study but said joining Montrose with Fruitvale and Area A rests on study results and is a community decision.
“I will be focused on actively representing the residents of Montrose to ensure that whatever comes from this study is in the best interests of the Village of Montrose,” he said.
With his three years on council, in addition to his professional background, Danchuk feels he has the qualities of a solid leader.
“I think you have to have some experience on council before you can lead,” he said. “You need to know how the system works, you don’t just come in and say, ‘I want to run for mayor,’ I don’t think that’s possible.”
Change needed for growth
Long-time Montrose resident Ron Pylypuik’s political platform speaks of change and progress.
Pylypuik spent the first quarter of his life in Montrose and after retiring from teaching English at the university level, has settled back in his hometown for the last 11 years.
“I think I owe Montrose something,” he said. “I haven’t seen any appreciable change in the last 50 years in Montrose. There is room for improvement and it’s time for a change.”
He personally commits to serving the village in a fair and equitable manner.
“I will endeavor to bring Montrose into the forefront of a changing and progressively modern world with all the benefits, advantages and status associated with a progressive community,” he said.
He sees several outstanding problems that need to be rectified, notably the water quality and aging infrastructure.
“I was brought up in Montrose and fully understand and realize the importance of a commitment to every household and taxpayer of Montrose,” he said.
“I also would like to see all of the electorate participate in this important civic election – one that I hope will illustrate and mirror the concerns and expectations of all Montrose residents.”
Though it’s his first time running, Pylypuik feels he’s qualified for the job because he knows what the main issues are in the village. He invites Montrose residents to get in touch with him directly, should they have specific questions.