Candidates were asked to keep their responses to each question to a limit of 150 words, but their responses have not been edited in any way. The responses to the questions will be published in the order they were received. The third question, and the responses to it, is as follows:
What should the City of Dawson Creek be using FairShare funding for, and how would you propose approaching negotiations with the provincial government for a renewed FairShare agreement after 2020?
Raymond Fromme: The City should be able to use the Fair Share monies at their own discretion. Re-negotiations will have to start well before the Fair Share program expires in 2020. A concerted effort (with the PRRD, Fort St. John, Taylor, Hudsons Hope, Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd) is required. Our Peace River region provides a very profitable “economical micro climate” for the benefits of BC. The BC Government has to understand that this qualifies our region for (more) Fair Share. We have all the good reasons to re-negotiate and we need to be assertive (if not aggressive) in our approach to renew this MOU.
Trina Commandeur: FairShare is a partnership between regional district, city and province. Set up because the district couldn’t collect taxes from oil and gas and the city can’t collect taxes from rural residents, thus FairShare was enacted. As the sweet heart of BC, renegotiate. If possible get it legislated. The FairShare is not for operating expenses or to pay down debt, its purpose is for community, services and the people. We are missing services, wheel chair and stroller friendly sidewalks, library needs upgrades, become more accessible, rethink provision of charitable food services and continue to provide community based transportation options such as Step Up and Ride.
Trevor Allaby: I would try to convince them of the importance of local infrastructure to the the oil and gas industry. At the same time, I have always been one to advocate that we need to eliminate our reliance upon Fairshare while using it for its intended purpose; infrastructure.
Doug Ragan: If our senior government in BC declares financial difficulty during the final years of our agreement then you can rest assured that our FairShare agreement may not be so fair. My opinion of our FairShare money is to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Perhaps allotting the first 20% of our FairShare to pay down our long term debt would help return us to some financial sanity that the taxpayers of Dawson Creek deserve.
Shaely Wilbur (Shaely): A percentage should be used to pay down our debt, using the balance to maintain and protcet our infrastructure. It is my understanding that all of the Northern Communities that recieve Fair Share are already working with the Provincial Gov't for a renewed agreement / legislation.
David MacDonald: FairShare is nice to have but we cannot rely on it for operating our city, we need to be using it to build up our infrastructure. Being a forward thinking person and always planning for the worse and hopping for the best I would advocate we put a percentage 15-30% away to help service our debt and make our community more sustainable in the long term. That way if we lose funding we would not have to scramble for cash to make up for the loss of that funding. As far as approaching, the government for continued funding after 2020 I believe the best thing we could do it use this money in a responsible manner, by investing in long-term infrastructure from new roads to sewer to emergency equipment or even the airport. I believe showing that we will make this money work for us and for the province thru us we would be a good position to negotiate.
Cheryl Shuman: The current agreement expires in 2020. This council and the next will have to focus on renegotiation of the Fair Share with the Provincial Government of the day. This agreement has been renegotiated before and it is my belief it will be again. There is no clause in the agreement that says the Fair Share must be used only for capital projects; I am told that clause was taken out prior to the 2005 city council. However a very large portion of the Fair Share does get spent on our capital budgets as well it pays for the debt servicing on current and past capital projects. I am committed to using the Fair Share wisely into the future to provide Dawson Creek with infrastructure and amenities that will make our community a great place to live.
Sue Kenny: FairShare funding should be used to assist in city operations including road repair and maintaining our present infrastructure. The Peace River Regional District in collaboration with the participating communities has been working on the Fair Share renewal as we speak and is looking for commitment for a permanent Fair Share agreement.
Terry McFadyen: Fair share is used for infrastructure. The big debate is different views on what is the definition of infrastructure.
Mile 0 City would like to thank all of the candidates who participated for their time and consideration in answering these questions. Check back with Mile 0 City this afternoon for the responses to the fourth question.