Tara Bowie left: A resident asks a question from the floor at the all-candidates meeting last week held at Victory Hall and put on by Similkameen Country.

Keremeos mayor hopefuls focus of all-candidates

Smaller crowd than normal but candidates tackle the tough questions

Questions about downtown parking, slowing down traffic and forcing trucks to take the bypass dominated the all-candidates meeting at Victory Hall last week.

Incumbent Mayor Manfred Bauer and former councillor turned mayoral hopeful Arlene Arlow fielded the majority of the questions from the 60 or so people who attended.

A local business owner recalled a story about a truck almost hitting a pedestrian just last week. He noted that police are not often enforcing

“Regarding the bypass the truckers do have the discretion,” candidate Arlene Arlow said.

The speaker interrupted saying that the truckers don’t the option not to go on the bypass in Penticton.

“Unfortunately this is a highway …i honestly believe 30 kilometres (speed limit) will add to the ambiance if you will of the downtown core,” Arlow added.

Manfred

In a rebuttal, Bauer said reducing the speed limit would not be passed.

“Thirty kilometre won’t be possible. It has been tried for many years, by other councils, the ministry will not go down to 30 kilometres on the highway just putting that out there.”

Bauer and Arlow continued to bring up the contentious 30 kilometre speed limit during other questions throughout the evening with information coming forward that under certain circumstances the ministry would reduce speed on the highway but Keremeos did not fit that criteria at this time.

In previous elections contentious issues out of Area G have taken up much of the all candidates but very few questions were given to the three new politicos Manpreet Uppal, Tim Roberts and Melodie Kolisnyk.

A question given to everyone revolved around increasing access to high speed internet to all residents.

“We just talked actually to the ministry… we’re looking at fibre optics in Keremeos and we are also looking at also spreading this throughout the valley Eastgate, Manning Park all the way to Osoyoos. There’s also a brand new technology that will be introduced in the next five years called 5G and this is fibre optics gives you about 150 megabytes a second and 5G will give you about 1,000 megabytes a second,” he said.

Arlow said it sounded like things were headed in the right direction.

“Regarding fibre optics and improved speed for the internet, it sounds like it’s coming down the pipes. I’m kind of neutral. I don’t care one way or the other. I personally would like to see more money spent on health care but it does seem like it’s coming down the pipe.”

Kolisnyk for Area G, said she would get behind anything that supported better internet for constituents.

“If elected I would support any effort to do this. We do need better internet, I agree. And I would jump on board very quickly to try and help support it,” she said.

Roberts, also for Area G, said internet was a way to stay connected for people now and there are some in the community being left behind.

“There’s a lot of people in our community that can’t afford it. There’s not only a need to have faster and better telecommunications systems but to also to have an infrastructure and a way to meet the people’s needs that can’t access those technologies because they don’t have the money,” he said.

Uppal said internet is the future.

“I say look outside the box, bring the cost down to the ground floor and then pass it on to you guys,” he said.

General election day is Oct. 20.

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