Print Edition: November 16, 2011
As their campaigns draw to a close, the five mayoral candidates for the City of Abbotsford had one last chance to formally discuss and debate the hot topics of this year’s civic election.
Hosted by the Political Science Student Association, the candidates debated on issues such as the proposed public-private partnership (P3) for Stave Lake, steady increases in property taxes, and public transportation. Although the largest topic in the election by far has been the impending referendum regarding the P3 project, it did not dominate the debate – only two questions posed related directly to it.
There were only four out of five candidates behind the panel table Monday night. One of the candidates, Meghann Coughlan, was unable to attend the debate in person due to illness, but was allowed to participate in the debate via telephone conference. She expressed her regrets at being unable to attend and her gratefulness to be allowed to participate in the capacity she did.
Bruce Banman began the debate by asserting, “I want to make [Abbotsford] a great place for everyone: for elders, families, children, and future generations, especially future generations.”
Mayoral candidate and UFV student, Travis Daleman was also in attendance. Daleman began as a 17-year-old newly out of high school who threw his hat into the ring to prove that there is a younger generation interested in politics. Now an 18-year-old university student, he actively participated in the PSSA all-candidates debate.
Daleman used humour to his advantage throughout the debate. When explaining his opinion that the City of Abbotsford is “shoving the Stave Lake water project down our throats” he said he attempted a Google search of “Vote No for P3” and the first link in the search results was “Vote Yes for P3.”
Incumbent Mayor George Peary continued to be the only mayoral candidate to support the Stave Lake Water Project. He explained, “The reality is, however, that even though I have recommended [the Stave Lake Water Project] personally… the decision is where it should be, it’s with the public. The public is going to participate, and there will be a referendum.”
Mayoral candidate Gerda Peachey raised the issue of the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) which she referred to as “the money-sucking pit on King Road.” She said that the money spent on AESC is money wasted, stating, “Your taxed are dependent on how well a bunch of puck chasers do.”
The discussion of ideas between the candidates at this point in the campaign had become much more developed and in-depth. The election will be Saturday November 19.