December 13th, 2017

Ward 8, Cypress County candidates’ questionnaires


By Tim Kalinowski on October 12, 2017.

Cypress County Ward 8 Redcliff/ Hwy. 523 North

1. What is the right balance, in your opinion, between preservation of agricultural lands and subdivision development in Cypress County?

2. Cypress County has a number of undeveloped road allowances, gravelled grid roads and highways which all require regular maintenance at an enormous cost to taxpayers. What would be your highest priority if elected in terms of county road spending? Why?

3. Hamlets have special infrastructure needs other areas of the county do not have, whether that be water and sewer, street paving or community facility maintenance. Do you feel hamlets are currently well-served by Cypress County? What initiatives would you support to enhance hamlets to make them more attractive to future potential residents?

4. Cypress County’s residential, agricultural and commercial taxes are the lowest or near lowest in Alberta. In this era of fiscal crunch, Cypress County may need to raise taxes in one or more of these areas over the next four years. Which area or areas of taxation would you support an increase in, if necessary, when elected?

5. Rural Internet access remains a major problem in the county. In your opinion, is access to the Internet a right or a privilege? Would you support a major county investment in the creation of a local, county-managed Internet service if telecommunications companies continue to show no interest?

LeRay Pahl

1. “In my opinion we have the right balance now. This was discussed in great detail at several council meetings and what we now have is a consensus. We should allow residential development where appropriate such as dry irrigation corners as long as it is along a current high grade road.”

2. “We currently spend about $1.5-million on roads each year. I think we should continue to upgrade, and keep our road system in a condition we can be proud of. Unfortunately there are instances where it just makes no sense to upgrade.”

3. “Hamlets are well served by the County of Cypress. When a problem arises, it is generally looked after. Recreation facilities, walking paths, and parks are ways that would make hamlets more attractive. But we must be ever mindful of the costs. In the not-too-distant future the county may have to look at a sewer system in Dunmore.”

4. “We are very fortunate to be in the position the county is in. However, there are instances when costs outstrip income. Hopefully costs would be the first place to look. Non-residential taxes have been raised two years in a row. It’s probably not the best suggestion when balancing the budget, but we have to be fair to everyone. A slight increase across the board may be best. No one likes taxes!

5. The county has offered to build the three towers in the dead areas É Jenner, Bowell, and south of Elkwater at a cost of $600,000. We can’t find a provider to put their equipment on the towers. Not enough potential income to warrant, they say. However, the Alberta Government gave the providers millions of dollars to give all rural Albertans high speed Internet. If everyone had it, college and university courses could be done at home. In this day of everything we do is at high speed, access to the Internet may be a right. Hopefully the county continues to seek a provider. Barring finding no one, I would support an investment in Internet and telecommunications.”

Shane Hok

1. “The present bylaw of three titles per quarter seems adequate. I would only be in favour of amending this bylaw in certain cases — if it is proven that the land in question is not suitable for farming. I also feel that any new subdivision application must prove that the subdivision will not sterilize any gravel resources.”

2. “I believe that the five-year road plan needs to have a hard and thorough look. Gravel is a non-renewable resource. The county cannot just keep gravelling roads just to meet the budget. In dry years when there is less absorption of gravel into the roadbed, the county should cut back. The savings could be put into a rainy day account, and not let it affect the budget in the future. I actually had county residents come up to me and tell me that their road just got gravelled again and it did not need it. When there is to much gravel on the road it is a waste and a hazard. The long-term plan should also look at hard topping high traffic roads.”

3. “The county seems to be doing a fairly good job lately in servicing the hamlets. This year there was major infrastructure work done in Suffield and Irvine and some street improvements in Seven Persons. If elected, I would keep pushing forward the need for the water co-op to Suffield. This project is necessary to provide a readily supply of potable water to Suffield and area. I would also entertain the idea of a tax break for new businesses that start up in the rural hamlets. I would also keep lobbying the provincial and federal governments to maintain the existing schools and post offices.”

4. “The raising of taxes should only happen if council reviewed all department expenses thoroughly and determine that the taxpayers’ dollars are being used effectively. If raising taxes is the only option, I believe that the tax increase needs to be directed where the expenses are occurring.”

5. “I believe the Internet is a right. On Dec. 22, 2016 CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said that the telecom and broadcast regulators decided to declare Broadband Internet Service is a “basic” service. The regulator ordered the country’s Internet providers to begin working toward boosting Internet service and speeds in rural and Isolated areas. County council has to work with our federal representatives to make this a reality.”

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