Mayoral and school board candidates field questions

Fruitvale all-candidates forum for the village’s mayoral candidates and Beaver Valley school board trustees.

Politics swung toward education Tuesday night at a Fruitvale all-candidates forum for the village’s mayoral candidates and Beaver Valley school board trustees.

About 70 people sat and listened intently as the microphone made its way from Dick Bilenki, Darrel Ganzert, Kim Mandoli and Vince Morelli – vying for the two School District 20 positions on the board of nine – only reaching former village councillor Patricia Cecchini and 40-year Fruitvale resident Gary Moisson briefly during the two-hour meeting.

Cecchini pointed to her record of getting work done on council for the past three years. Improved walking paths, a revitalized May Days and the village’s green gym are just some of the accomplishments she’s led the former team on.

Moisson listed his many community positions he’s held over the years and his dedication to the community where he lives.

But the spotlight drifted from the mayoral candidates when the floor opened up to the public, who wanted to talk schools.

One man in the crowd pointed out the district’s operational surplus has dropped down to $38,000 this school year from $1.7 million two years ago and asked how future trustees plan on dealing with this dwindling budget.

Bilenki said it’s time the board took politics out of decision-making. He pointed to the choice to keep Castlegar’s older and smaller maintenance building open and closing Trail’s newer and larger one, which is now rented out to regional transportation for $1 a year.

“This is why I say we have to take the politics out of things that don’t affect the students,” he said.

Outspoken parent Roland Vogel wanted to know whether the trustee candidates would like to see the four remaining elementary schools in Greater Trail left open.

“I don’t think the pressure is going to be on closing elementary schools, certainly they are the most vulnerable of the students that we do have and I think they have to stay as close to their homes as possible,” said Ganzert, noting the increase in elementary enrolment since full-day kindergarten started this year.

Facilitator Ron Clarke, president of the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce, sourced a question from a Crowe student that touched on the contentious issue of moving Rossland Secondary School kids down the hill but specifically how Crowe could accommodate them.

“If the future holds – either though enrolment increasment or the closure of another school – that school could easily be added onto,” said Mandoli, who was a trustee at the time when the blueprints for the new school were accepted.

Trustee hopefuls don’t necessarily think closing RSS is the answer to balancing a budget, the crowd heard.

Morelli added the Planning For the Future document can be deceiving because a sale of a school can’t b used toward operational costs.

“If you have a school sitting empty, it’s still costing you money and the value is also going down rapidly,” he said. “I don’t think closing the school is actually an answer to the problem, the problem is funding from the province.”

Area A director Ali Grieve brought the most controversial topic to the floor for the mayors, asking what their views were on the proposed Columbia Gardens industrial park boundary expansion study.

Moisson admitted he was unfamiliar with the study while Cecchini said she’s not in favour of losing Beaver Valley industry.

The two mayor candidates agreed that the most difficult challenge facing Fruitvale’s future council is aging infrastructure.

The Montrose debate is set for Wednesday at the Montrose Community Hall from 7-9 p.m., Trail’s all-candidates forum gets underway Nov. 8 from 7-9 p.m. and Rossland’s is scheduled for Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Miners’ Hall.







Just Posted

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

For Your Consideration
Brokeback Facebook: I wish I knew how to quit you!

Thom is inspired by the proliferation of viral inane questions to reevaluate his social media use

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read