Hope’s mayoral candidates debate pressing issues

Laurie French and Susan Johnston answered questions on topics ranging from business and jobs, to quality of life and district policy.

About 50 residents packed into the Blue Moose on Thursday night to hear Hope’s mayoral candidates weigh in on local issues.

Laurie French and Susan Johnston answered questions on topics ranging from business and jobs, to quality of life and district policy.

The evening began with each candidate introducing themselves and explaining why voters should choose them for Hope’s top job.

“We’re watching things go downhill rather than uphill,” said Johnston. “I think it’s time for a change. There’s nothing I won’t do for this community.”

French spoke about his leadership over the last three years as mayor and the experience he gained as councillor for six years before that. He singled out projects like the new Kawkawa Lake Road Bridge, new playground at Kawkawa Lake Park, and strong relationships with senior government as term accomplishments.

“I think I’ve been the leader in the change we’ve seen and needed,” he said. “Everyone knows now that Hope is on the map. That’s why there’s more interest in Hope and that’s why there’s more people coming here.”

Both candidates agreed on several issues, including the need for economic development, infrastructure, jobs and community ownership over graffiti removal.

“We can’t have economic development if we don’t have people who are willing to spend the time fixing up their storefronts and making this a place where people want to come and do business,” said Johnston, who suggested the district offer business incentives for storefront upgrades. “We have to build it so they can come.”

The mayoral candidates were asked how they would deal with current lengthy processing times for new business licenses and development permits. They both agreed that more dedicated and trained staff are needed at district hall to help resolve this problem.

French and Johnston also expressed support for a casino in the area to generate revenue and create jobs. However, French pointed out the district has to be careful not to open one for “desperate reasons.” He said the focus needs to be more on the entertainment value.

Another issue that came up was the need for increased communication between council and the public. French admitted this is one area where current incumbents have failed. He said residents need to be more aware of what’s going on in the district and what council is doing.

Johnston also suggested there needs to be more outdoor activities, bike paths and dog parks in Hope. In addition, she proposed the district look at providing a future youth centre to give teens something to do in town.

Residents have another opportunity to hear from candidates on Nov. 7 at the Hope & District Recreation Centre. The meeting kicks off at 6:30 p.m. in the new multipurpose room.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Most Read