- Written by Don McCracken
About 70 people braved the weather to come hear what High River’s two candidates for Mayor had to say at the Chamber of Commerce’ first forum Monday, October 2.
Newcomer Paul Milligan says it was a good night with lots of good questions.
“The questions from the crowd, some were very difficult, some have been around a long time and brought up memories and issues,” he says. “I thoroughly enjoyed tonight, it was exciting and something new for me, but I was certainly happy with the crowd and their responses to my answers.”
The incumbent,Craig Snodgrass gave credit to Milligan for putting his name forward and being respectful in putting his vision forward as well.
“I’m all for this and I thank Paul for being respectful of both of us and being respectful of the debate,” Snodgrass says. “I think both of us did a great job and answered the questions and we’ve got a bit of a different direction and a bit of a different feel as to what this role is and it’s up to the community to decide which direction they want to go, but as far as the night goes, I love it.”
Snodgrass says the bylaw enforcement issue that came up early is something he’s dealt with for awhile. Specifically the question from the floor had to do with loud mufflers.
“You put these little bylaws in place, or noise bylaws and everything, but it’s just a really tough one to actually enforce and then prove,” Snodgrass says. “You can give somebody a ticket for $50 for loud mufflers, but do you think he’s going to go change them? No, he’s not.”
Milligan suggested residents get more involved by taking down licence plate numbers and providing as much information to police as they can.
Economic development and the downtown core were a concern with Snodgrass discussing the amount of available square footage available just after the flood to now which is about half what it was.
Milligan did not want to go to a higher tax rate for unoccupied space feeling landlords already have enough to deal with.
As usual the issue of parking downtown came up again.
Mayor Snodgrass says the Town is going in the right direction.
“My viewpoints is that we are moving in the right direction and we are improving access to the fronts of these businesses by providing employee parking and getting them off the street and allowing space for patrons,” he says. “Are you going to sell your soul to the vehicle or to the vibrant downtown, we chose the vibrant downtown and it’s proving to be successful already.”
Milligan says, especially where it concerns accessible parking consultation may be needed.
“We’ve seen quite a change in parking and so I think it’s just a matter of engaging the people to fully understand their concerns and seeing if some resolution can be made for maybe a smaller user group to help address their concerns and handicap parking, all the different parking around the downtown core,” Milligan says
The candidates for council get their turn Tuesday, October 3, at the Highwood Memorial Centre starting at 7 p.m.