Mayoral Candidate Debate

BlackburnNews.com hosted all seven mayoral candidates for a debate on 92.9 FM / 630 AM CFCO.

Monday night, recorded questions were posed by BlackburnNews.com reporters, as well as members of the public, on topics like infrastructure, agriculture and youth retention. On the subject of youth retention, Ian McLarty says there are a number of factors, like arts, sports and education that bring young people back to the city. Youth retention is also one of the biggest platform points of newcomer Reno Lachapelle. If elected, John Willatt wants to start a “first jobs” initiative, in which the municipality hires those fresh from school to get some work experience.

Whoever does get elected will have to deal with a whopping 17 council members each week. Candidates also have varying opinions on the issue of reducing the size of Chatham-Kent Council. Steve Brent says there’s definitely too many council members, going on to say there should be an increased number of wards instead. Randy Hope says in a perfect world, the number of councillors would be reduced. Marjorie Crew was less ready to approve a decrease in council members, explaining sometimes, more voices result in a better outcome.

Chatham-Kent’s infrastructure also came under attack during the “rapid-fire” portion of the evening, particularly in rural areas. Hope says Chatham-Kent has done an inventory of all its roads, bridges, and culverts, and developed a committee to find spots to reduce costs. Crew also says Ontario has recognized CK is a rural community, and the funding it receives will be reflective of that. However, contractors like Bultje and McLarty say the issue should have been looked at long before the year of an election.

Election night is set for October 27. More detailed profiles of all of Chatham-Kent’s mayoral candidates can be found on Municipal Elections page.