With Blackfalds’ council being elected by acclamation, the only candidates left in the race are those for mayor of Blackfalds.
Both candidates, incumbent Melodie Stol and candidate Wayne Tutty, had the opportunity to present their platforms to voters at a forum held at the Blackfalds Multiplex on Oct 3.
In her introductory speech, Stol cited her work ethic and showed her desire to continue working for the community. She also advocated for continued transparency of the local government through open debate and involvement of the community.
Stol said that the community of Blackfalds as a whole, (including volunteer organizations, individuals, business, council and Town administration) is a team that has and needs to continue working together to ensure a sustainable future for Blackfalds. Partnerships outside the community are also important to Stol, as many of the projects the Town of Blackfalds undertakes are only possible through working with other levels of government and other organizations.
During his own introductory remarks, Tutty outlined his reasons for running for mayor, citing his previous experience on Blackfalds council both as mayor and as councillor.
He said that the time he spent on council he had seen a great deal of growth in the community and wants to be involved in that growth.
Tutty added he has served Blackfalds outside of council through a variety of volunteer groups as well.
Tutty also stressed the importance of partnership and cooperation with other levels of government as well as Town staff and also advocated for wise spending of tax dollars.
He added that he wanted to run to offer the citizens of Blackfalds a choice in who they wanted for mayor.
During question period, the candidates responded to a number of questions on different topics, dealing mostly with issues currently facing Blackfalds.
Both candidates were knowledgeable on the issues and whenever possible offered solutions for problems posed to them by members of the audience.
One important recurring issue to come out of the question period was Blackfalds’ lack of adequate funding due to rapid growth.
Stol said that Blackfalds is severely underfunded by government agencies in many areas because numbers used by those agencies to determine funding are skewed by the town’s rapid growth.
She was also adamant that she would continue to work with government officials to correct this problem in the future.
Tutty said the key to achieving this was coming up with plans to show those officials that funding is needed in the community and that it will be utilized.
He reiterated Stol’s desire to work with government officials and once again advocated strong partnerships between all parties involved with such issues and hard work to find a solution.
Volunteer apathy was another issue that came out of the question period.
Candidates were asked what they would do to get more people involved in the volunteer community.
Making volunteering easier for potential volunteers is the key to fighting voter apathy, said Stol.
She suggested removing obstacles, such as childcare, from those who would otherwise be volunteering. Stol added she is an active member of the volunteer community and that she hoped her modeling that involvement would be another way to combat the problem.
Tutty advocated a different path, saying the best way would to be to get people, perhaps council members or other volunteers, to actively seek out potential volunteers and find out what issues are preventing them from volunteering.
Such active consultation was something Tutty strongly advocated and mentioned in his responses to several questions from the evening.
After question period, candidates were invited to the stand once more to make their closing statements.
Tutty again cited his experience with past councils as a strength for his candidacy and stated plainly that he has a great passion for Blackfalds and wants to continue being involved with council as mayor.
While giving her own final remarks, Stol also spoke of her love for Blackfalds and desire to consider serving the community as Mayor.
She said all the successes she and her family have enjoyed come from the community of Blackfalds and she hopes to use her love of politics to continue growing and supporting the community.