Mayoral and council candidates crowd the stage in the ADSS Theatre

ELECTION 2014: ‘Future voters’ grill candidates

ADSS theatre was packed with students.

Diversifying the economy, beautifying the city and collaboration on city council were just a few of the issues that Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) students grilled the Port Alberni mayoral and council candidates on, Wednesday morning.

Organized by Anne Ostwald’s Social Justice 12 class, the meeting gave candidates a chance to show whether or not they supported key city initiatives.

The $5 million 10th Avenue vehicle crossing proved to be unpopular with candidates, with only mayoral candidate Hira Chopra and council candidates and incumbents Jack McLeman and Wendy Kerr supporting the use of taxpayer money for the initiative.

While candidates were asked to choose either yes or no to each question, many were unable to prioritize either Johnston Road or Third Avenue as their main focus for future development. Mayoral candidates Kevin Wright and Mike Ruttan stressed the difference between what enhancing the two areas would accomplish, saying that Johnston Road improvements would attract tourists while Third Avenue enhancements will attract business.

Candidates also felt that both young families of the Alberni Valley and seniors on fixed incomes were key.

Just over half of the candidates, including more than two-thirds of the mayoral candidates supported an expansion of the city’s boundaries to include the regional district.

Subsidizing McLean Mill National Historic Site received support from less than half the candidates, while both beautifying the city and protecting the China Creek Watershed proved popular with all of the candidates.

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