By Bromley Chamberlain
Rick Pankiw and Sheldon Ibbotson attended the Rimbey Ratepayer’s candidates’ forum on Oct. 3.
Mayor Dale Barr’s seat remained empty for the length of the forum.
“The reason that I want to run is because I believe it is time for Rimbey to have a new focus: to go forward,” Rick Pankiw said. “Not to worry about what happened in the past, but to take us to a new era. I think a fair government has to be run with a very transparent look, so that you, the voters get the opportunity to see what you want to see, when you want to see it.”
“I think the basic thing is transparency, and transparency leads to accountability. I hope then the next step leads to public involvement,” Ibbotson said. “When I look back at any of the big projects that have been successful in Rimbey, like the arena, it all involves the community. They get behind it and they make it work. Without the surrounding community this town wouldn’t thrive like it does.”
The two mayoral candidates mostly agreed, but differed slightly on the issue of their potential salary.
Pankiw thought that asking what they feel to be an adequate remuneration for the position of mayor was a loaded question. The current mayor makes more than most municipalities, but Rick isn’t promising to work for free.
“One of the things that I am very much a proponent of is having the committees that we attend to in town, parent council meetings, fire hall meetings, be part of your base rate so you don’t get paid extra for that,” Pankiw said. “I didn’t run for salary. I ran because I think it’s for the right reasons.”
Someone in the audience chimed in “So you’re going to work for free?”
Ibbotson said he’d work for the base pay, at least until a committee made recommend a change.
“I have also taken the same position on getting a committee to make an objective decision. Until that happens I am happy to take the base pay of $1,500 a month, if I’m elected. I’m fine with that.”
Both candidates proposed a third-party committee to research salaries and make a recommendation.
The candidates agreed on idling bylaws, with the candidates focusing more on green solutions an idling bylaw would help keep Rimbey green.
“It’s certainly within the town’s jurisdiction to restrict idling and it doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to me,” Ibbotson commented.
“We need a bylaw for idling vehicles. Right now, from what I understand there is not one, but that would be part of the green program,” Pankiw said.
Ibbotson and Pankiw would both like to see a better recycling program in Rimbey and feel that the Lions club has been doing a great job, but deserve the support of the town.
“The extent of our recycling program is not what I’d like to see it at. I would like to see us get into having the different crates outside our houses to put the different things in.
I’m a big fan of that,” Pankiw said.
“I too would like to see a recycling program in Rimbey,” Ibbotson said. I think what I’d like to do is get together a committee and have them go out and research the options; bring them back to council and we’d have hopefully an open house like this. Put the options in front of the people,” Ibbotson said.
An anonymous question was asked about snow removal: Currently snow is plowed it from one side of the street to the other. Is Rimbey going to get snow removal?
Ibbotson would consider raising Rimbey’s snow removal budget.
“I personally prefer it when they don’t push the snow until it’s so deep that I can’t get through it. The roads get narrower and it gets harder and harder to get through the road. I think I would be willing to bump the budget some,” Ibbotson said.
“All communities are wondering about snow removal. We have councillors saying this, and mayors proposing this. First of all it comes back to our budget restraint,” Pankiw said.
The crowd of 140 thought Rimbey has the best snow removal in all of Alberta. Scott Ellis, who lived in Grande Prairie before moving to Rimbey said, “Here we get our back alleys plowed.”
The moderator only stepped in once during the forum, and it was for a provincial question. Other than that, Rimbey co-operated with the ratepayers for a successful forum.