Sylvan Lake mayoral candidates outline their positions at forum

SYLVAN LAKE — A local group lobbying for an urgent care centre has submitted its proposal to the province.

SYLVAN LAKE — A local group lobbying for an urgent care centre has submitted its proposal to the province.

The town’s Urgent Care Committee expects to have Alberta Health’s response within a month, said incumbent Mayor Susan Samson, who broke the news at a mayoral debate on Friday night.

Samson, who chairs the committee, said Sylvan Lake is among communities in line for one of 22 family care clinics promised by Premier Alison Redford. The hope is for Sylvan’s clinic to be, in practise, an urgent care centre by another name, offering seven-day-a-week non-life-threatening care, with extended hours and access to x-ray and laboratory services.

“Urgent care is what we’re going to get and we’re going to get it sooner, not later,” said Samson, at the debate that drew about 170 people to the Sylvan Lake Community Centre.

Coun. Sean McIntyre, who is now seeking the mayor’s job, praised the committee’s work and said he wants to see the centre become a 24-hour facility.

“I think that is something we can approach progressively.”

Realtor and political newcomer Melesa Starcheski said Sylvan needs a hospital to meet the needs of a growing community and seniors, especially given our aging population.

The province has rejected calls for a hospital previously, arguing the town is too close to Red Deer’s hospital.

Among the familiar local issues candidates were polled on was what they would do at Hwys 781 and 11. Residents have lobbied for a set of traffic lights at the intersection that has seen a number of fatalities.

Instead, the province insisted on a right-in and right-out access, which has frustrated many.

McIntyre said he wanted to see lights at the intersection, but the request was “immediately rebuffed” by Alberta Transportation.

“That doesn’t mean we give up,” he said.

Starcheski said the town should do more. “We can complain or we can step up and do something. That’s why I’m here,” she said.

Samson said the town was able to convince Alberta Transportation not to close the intersection completely — it’s first choice. The town also managed to line up $6.5 million in provincial funding to build Memorial Drive to improve links in the community.

While some residents want a set of lights, police and emergency services say the current configuration is working well, she said.

Candidates were also asked their positions on taxes and municipal borrowing.

Samson, who is seeking a third term as mayor, said the town is borrowing for important projects such as a new fire hall, which will go to tender this fall. Compared with other similar-sized communities, the town’s debt load is on target and well below allowed limits.

The town has also built up reserves of over $19 million to fund future projects and carefully watches its finances through a 10-year capital plan.

McIntyre, who has served one term on council, said borrowing ensures the community has the facilities it needs, offering as an example the arena, which will no longer be safe to use after 2015.

Borrowing also ensures residents who will be using the facilities are paying for them, he added. Taxes must be balanced with the needs of the community, he added.

Starcheski said the risk of borrowing must be looked at very closely. Avoiding taking on too much debt may mean delaying a project.

Candidates were also asked their positions on finding an affordable boat launch with parking, arts and culture, balancing infrastructure needs, and improving communication.

A council forum takes place at the community centre at 7 p.m. next Friday. The election takes place Oct. 21.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo).
Red Deer’s downtown restaurants can apply for patio licences

It will allow for expanded seating capacity

Some workers at Sobeys in Rocky Mountain House have recently tested positive for COVID-19. (File photo)
Sobeys in Rocky Mountain House reports COVID-19 workers

10 positive tests since last Thursday

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

63 per cent said equality between men and women has not been achieved

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar. The escalation of violence in Myanmar as authorities crack down on protests against the Feb. 1 coup is adding to pressure for more sanctions against the junta, as countries struggle over how to best confront military leaders inured to global condemnation. (AP Photo/File)
Escalating violence raises pressure for Myanmar sanctions

More shootings were reported over the weekend

A moth-killing drone hovers over crops in a green house in Monster, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. A Dutch startup is using drones to kill moths in midair as a way of protecting valuable crops in greenhouses that are damaged by caterpillars. PATS Indoor Drone Solutions emerged from the work of a group of students looking for ways to kill mosquitos in their dorm rooms. The drones themselves are very basic, but they are steered by smart technology and special cameras that scan the airspace in greenhouses. When the cameras detect a moth, a drone is set on a collision course with the bug, destroying the bug with its rotors. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)
Drones vs hungry moths: Dutch use hi-tech to protect crops

Drones instantly kill the moths by flying into them

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
Seasons changing: Hope around the corner with vaccines

The month of March is leaving its muddy footprint on the land… Continue reading

Hamilton Forge FC’s Giuliano Frano (8) heads the ball against CD Olimpia’s Jorge Benguche (9) during Scotiabank CONCACAF League 2019 second half soccer action in Hamilton, Ont., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Forge FC owner Bob Young says the Canadian Premier League champions will be playing the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC at a disadvantage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Forge FC owner upset at Canada Soccer’s timing of Canadian Championship final

Winner of Canadian Championship final earns a berth in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League

Team Wild Card Two skip Kevin Koe reacts to his shot as he plays Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Brier in Calgary, Alta., on March 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Wild Card Two’s Koe beats Gushue 9-7 to hand defending champs first loss at the Brier

Gushue was a tad heavy with his final draw and Koe picked it out for the victory

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No regrets: Grammy-nominated DJ Jayda G on choosing beats over sciences career

TORONTO — House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two… Continue reading

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaking about expecting their second child during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” airs March 7 as a two-hour exclusive primetime special on the CBS Television Network. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
UK royals absorb shock of revealing Harry, Meghan interview

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the interview gave a clearer picture of what the royal family is like

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

Most Read