Over 160 people turned out to the All Candidates Meeting at Our Lady of Mercy School in Bancroft last night to meet and question the would be councillors and mayors. The evening was civil and issues raised by the public revolved around youth, job creation, the land fill site, access to business developments support from the Town and the sense of isolation in the Dungannon Ward. Candidates also discussed the idea of more evening meetings to give the public more access. It was pointed out that there have been evening meetings and they were as poorly attended by the public as the day meetings. Some challengers argued that there was not enough notice given and that the information is difficult to find, particularly on the town website.
The people attending last night’s All Candidates meeting in Bancroft came prepared with some direct questions. There was several questions asked about what the candidates proposed to keep youth living and employed in the area. Responses ranged from attempting to promote more local hiring, development of the Earth Sciences Centre which would offer booth post secondary learning opportunities and employment possibilities as well. Support and promotion of arts and culture was also questioned, and all agreed that the Arts and Culture were valuable assets in tourism and employment. Some noted Bancroft’s renown as the :Most Talented Town in Ontario,” and what that meant to the towns people and to visitors.
The landfill site in Dungannon was a hot topic at last night’s All Candidates meeting. Questions were raised about it becoming a Regional landfill and whether or not the landfill site is now accepting Hazardous Waste. Mayoral Candidate Bernice Jenkins said she was unaware of any change in the status of the landfill. She did say she believes that some contaminated soil was delivered, but that it was within the restrictions set under the current certificate of operations. Several members of the previous council did speak to the Regional Landfill question, all noting that there had been some initial discussions on the idea of accepting waste from other municipalities, but there is no plan to become a regions landfill site. They all said that as a matter of keeping operating expenses of both the town and the landfill site that any possible source of revenue had not been ruled out.
The School Board Trustee Candidates waded into some of the issues as well. Lucille Kyle noted that normally the arts are a big part of a school’s curriculum, but currently there is no art room at York River Public School and that the music programs in the north of the county have been in decline for some time. Candidate Judy Edgar said that schools and their programs grow along with economic development; more jobs mean more people and more families.