Chamber of Commerce hosts Three Hills Candidates Forum

Three Hills Forum 2017

Six fresh faces joined the six incumbents bidding for re-election at the 2017 Candidates Forum for Three Hills Town Council, hosted by the Three Hills Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday evening, October 5th. With the upcoming election on October 16th each candidate was given opportunity to present themselves and their motive for running in a three minute opening statement. Furthermore, they were presented with 13 questions from the public which they sought to answer as best they could on the spot. Out of the twelve present at the forum only six will be permitted to office on October 16th.

The six new candidates include Corey Mottus, Marilyn Sept, John Hamm, Ray Wildeman, Bob Cuthill, and Karen Dalgetty. Corey Mottus brings financial management experience in his job as a Chartered Accountant and seeks to represent young families like his own. Marilyn Sept has a willingness to learn and much to offer from serving in her role as the Executive Director of the Three Hills Arts Academy, and after holding many roles in the community, having spent over 40 years living in Three Hills. John Hamm, another new face, is seeking a new way to give back to a community he’s called home for many years, with energy and motivation, to work hard and has experience in municipal planning and home inspection. Ray Wildeman has served as the President of various clubs in town, including both the golf and curling clubs. He also owns and operates a small business, and has invested numerous volunteer hours. He is excited at the prospect of helping to manage the Three Hills budget with special consideration for infrastructure, economic development, and environmental care and protection. Bob Cuthill came to Three Hills in 2002 to take a job with Prairie College and has key motives for running: road repair and paving, water supply needs, initiating a “Three Hills First” purchasing policy, cultivating a thriving arts community, and caring for the town’s senior citizen population. Finally, Karen Dalgetty, mother of five, and a small business owner of Hooded Skateboards, wishes to be a fresh perspective and a voice for young families while also hoping to build an outdoor skate park for the youth of the community. She would like to build more playgrounds for young families in hopes of attracting newcomers to the town.

Existing candidates include Al Campbell, David Nadeau, Harold Leo, Ronald Howe, Terry Ann Diack, and Vernon David Wiebe. Al Campbell, who has been in the community for 45 years, was elected to council in 2010. On the council he has been a member of the Doctor Recruitment and Retention Committee, has worked to get land and services available for new businesses, as part of the Municipal Planning committee, and is a representative for the Badlands Tourism Board. He is now seeking to crack down on rural crime, to control spending but also working to fix infrastructure and the water supply. David Nadeau came to Three Hills in 1989 and was elected to council in 2007. He is passionate about continuing to be a voice for the seniors; to continue to share with them the previous day’s Town Council discussions, to answer their questions and to show them his pictures from around the town so that they still feel connected to the community, even if mobility is difficult. Harold Leo has been in Three Hills for nearly 39 years and 12 of those have been spent on town council. He is especially concerned with managing municipal spending and feels convicted to manage the money with the mindset of “the one taxpayer.” Ron Howe was owner of a third generation business and has been proud to promote Three Hills by serving on council for the past seven years. He reminded those in attendance that it was during his time on council that the town’s financial situation was turned around, and that the library was moved to its new location, saving the town $30,000 annually in rent fees. Moving forward, Howe sees the town’s water supply as a major issue in need of attention. Terry Ann Diack has her family roots firmly planted in Three Hills. While she recognizes that the town has its faults in aging infrastructure, water supply needs, and requires road repair, she takes a pragmatic view noting that the limited tax base means that needs and wants of the community must be estimated in order to best manage spending. Lastly, Vernon Wiebe is running for re-election on the basis of honesty, integrity, and hard work. Much like Terry Ann Diack, he realizes that the town’s aging infrastructure requires work, but such large projects require strict asset management.

After candidates presented their statements they were faced with a list of questions featuring hot topics centred upon road repair, water supply, playground construction, and asset management. However, among these questions two concerns clearly stood out: town water supply and road repair. With an aging water supply system it has become apparent that the town will need to make changes, and until they do it is futile to dig up roadways and repair the roads, as the pipes underneath will need to be updated in a number of years. Therefore, councillors are presented with choices on how best to proceed with such crucial issues. Discussion also touched upon playground construction, small business attraction, garbage pick-up, and taxation.

To conclude the evening candidates gave a closing statement and strongly encouraged citizens to vote, whether by advanced polling on October 12th at the Town Office between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, or on election day, October 16th, at the Three Hills Community Centre, between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. As sitting on council is a weighty responsibility it is every citizen’s responsibility to involve his or herself in the process by visiting candidate’s websites, emailing questions, and voting for whomever they see fit to best move the town forward.