Trail council candidate hosts ‘dry run’ for this week’s forum

Sean Mackinlay organized a second casual open forum to give voters a chance to really engage with future municipal politicians.

A two-minute sound bite isn’t enough for a first-time candidate running for Trail council.

Sean Mackinlay, 30, organized a second casual open forum last night to give voters a chance to really engage with future municipal politicians on a personal level.

“It’s almost like a dry run and it gets your feet wet as to who you’ll be talking to and what are the topics of discussion we’ll see coming up on Tuesday,” Mackinlay said prior to the forum he organized at The Spot which was held after Sunday’s press deadline.

“I think having that kind of interaction draws more people – a lot of people don’t want to go and watch somebody speak, they want to be part of the conversation.”

With 10 people running for city council – incumbent councillors Robert Cacchioni, Gord DeRosa, Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson and Fred Romano, joined by John Carter, Bryan Deferro, Ray Furlotte, Rick Georgetti, Kevin Jolly and Mackinlay – the all-candidates forum in Trail Tuesday does have an added time restraint.

The council hopefuls – along with Terry Hanik, Lorraine Manning and Mark Wilson vying for the two Trail school board positions – will have two minutes to respond to questions while their counterparts in Fruitvale and Montrose were allotted an extra minute.

But the time limit wasn’t the deciding factor for Mackinlay, general manager of Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza and The Spot.

The fairly new Trail resident wanted an opportunity to meet residents and hear first-hand what their concerns are.

“I think (forums) have become so rigid and rule-orientated and that there is such a time limit that you can’t explain some of the ideas that are very important to our community.”

Jolly, a fellow first-time candidate, has gone with a different tack. The Trail branch manager of Kootenay Savings Credit Union has taken a “hands-on” approach along his campaign trail, going door-to-door and connecting with business owners.

“I see value in getting together with residents of Trail whenever you get the opportunity,” he said. “I think this is a unique way of doing so but from my perspective, I rather go out to talk to people as opposed to getting them to come in. But there certainly is no harm in trying a different venue.”

Mackinlay decided to put his hat into the race to inject a younger voice to an otherwise older demographic.

DeRosa, the longest serving Trail councillor on the ballot with 23 years of dedication, called Mackinlay’s event “unusual” but gives him “kudos” for trying a new approach.

He is pleased to see new candidates step up during election but he said there needs to be a balance of new and old in order to carry council forward efficiently.

“You can’t lose that continuity, otherwise you’re going to be lost,” he said. “It does take about two years before you really feel like you’ve got your feet underneath you and you’re contributing; it’s a little bit overwhelming to start with.”

Council hopefuls will be squaring off at the Trail Memorial Centre Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.