In most municipal elections, more public focus is on mayoral and deputy-mayoral races as that’s where the grand policy announcements and platforms are usually found. But that wasn’t the case at Carleton Place’s all candidates’ night. About 150 Carleton Place residents showed up to the Neelin Street Arena on October 6th for the event hosted by the Carleton Place and District Chamber of Commerce. Brian Perkin of Lake 88 Radio was the moderator and the evening was divided into two sessions; one for the 13 candidates running for council positions and one for the 5 competitors running for mayor and deputy mayor.
For mayor the candidates are incumbent Doug Black (firstname.lastname@example.org), current councilor Toby Randell (email@example.com), and Andreas Foustanellas (firstname.lastname@example.org). For deputy mayor the choices are incumbent Sean Redmond (email@example.com) and current councilor Andrew Tennant (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Candidates running for the 5 council seats are incumbent Linda Seccaspina (email@example.com), Kory Earle (firstname.lastname@example.org), Aaron Niedbala (email@example.com), Todd Boyce (firstname.lastname@example.org), Paolo Villa@email@example.com), Francois Maltais (firstname.lastname@example.org), incumbent Jeff Atkinson (email@example.com), Sarah Cavanagh (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mark Hinton (email@example.com), incumbent Wes Parsons, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tracy Kwissa (email@example.com), John Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Dean Comley (denacomleyforCP@gmail.com). Edwards and Maltais were absent.
The Chamber received questions from the public via their social media accounts and email and had business related questions of their own. The 3-hour time allotted provided time for Perkin to ask 10 questions to groups of council candidates and 9 to the mayor and deputy mayor competitors. All were given 2 minutes for introductory comments and 1 minute for closing remarks. Questions ranged from affordable housing to small business and tourism support to commuter transit to ATV use on town streets. Notably absent were any questions on healthcare although several candidates such as Paolo Villa and Sean Redmond listed their efforts on this file in opening remarks. On the topic of commuter transit service, Atkinson said the business case for a bus-service to federal government offices had passed with work-from-home, while Seccaspina wondered why Carleton Place couldn’t have a simple shuttle that toured the town providing shopping and appointment transit. There was division among participants as to whether or not ATVs should be allowed the same freedom to use streets as snowmobiles now have. The question on supporting youth to reduce substance abuse brought the audience to attention as candidates provided their takes. Cavanagh wanted more support for existing groups working on this issue in town and stated a youth representative(s) to council would be worth looking into.
During the break in the meeting between council participants and those running for mayor and deputy mayor, the audience thinned out leaving a lot of empty seats. The mayor and deputy mayor candidates faced similar questions but seemed united on their choice for the issue with the most challenges and opportunities; population and development growth. They all wanted Carleton Place to maintain its small-town charm while welcoming new residents and businesses.
The town’s clerk mailed out voting information letters starting Oct 3rd which contain instructions on how to vote by phone or computer. The link to the Chamber of Commerce’s video of the night can be found at www.facebook.com/carletonplacechamber/videos/3243784212605452