The race is now truly on

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Well, it’s on now.

We now know who hopes to represent our municipalities in the upcoming October election.

Based on what we’ve heard so far from candidate hopefuls, there seems to be a growing focus on keeping our valley communities livable, including with affordable housing, while keeping traffic flowing and dealing with parking.

None of these issues are new, of course. Housing has been an issue for decades now and, with the Bow Valley becoming ever more popular, parking and traffic congestion have certainly become issues.

A regular comment from council hopefuls and many others in recent times is that the present councils “aren’t listening ” – which we wonder about.

There have been so many contentious issues in this valley lately, with so many varying points of view, that Outlook staff are wondering if the notion that councils aren’t listening is really due to the fact that our councils aren’t rubber stamping policy that agrees with people.

After all, just because members of our citizenry aren’t pleased with what our councils are doing doesn’t mean our mayors and councils are wrong.

With municipal politics, just like provincial and federal politics, there is virtually no possible way that a council could keep hitting home runs with their decisions and keep everybody happy.

Witness affordable housing, if you will. Our municipal governments are in agreement that affordability in this valley is a major issue. Those needing affordable housing agree; businesses needing to attract staff agree; those hoping to keep people in the valley, kids in schools and people in all financial circumstances working, agree.

Yet, every time there is an open house, or a forum, or a council debate, or vote or … There are detractors who argue against anything that would create affordable housing. Often these detractors, of course, already have their little slice of heaven in the valley, and aren’t interested in others enjoying the same slice.

Thus, our municipal governments have taken it upon themselves to ensure the something has been done by way of housing, that private developers were not.

In this space, we’ve congratulated our councils for taking the bull by the horns, if you will, and tackle the issue. Which they have done. And again, if you don’t agree that affordable housing should fall within a council’s mandate, it doesn’t mean our councils are wrong with their moves.

Then there is parking and traffic congestion in our communities. Anyone who has spent any time in our towns on long weekends, say, could not possibly argue that it is not an issue. Gridlock is gridlock, whether in a city of a million-plus, or towns of a few thousand.

And yet, there is outright refusal by many that visitors should pay for the privilege of parking while they visit.

As this election campaign continues, we urge citizens to get out to a forum or two to see what the candidates have to say for themselves, how they comport themselves and if they have a grasp of issues important to you.

As it is, there are almost more forums coming up than might be considered reasonable for candidates to attend. The fact that candidates are willing to put themselves out there, answer questions and make their beliefs known, is to be commended.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook