The all candidates election forum hosted by Young Professionals of Campbell River and the Campbell River Mirror touched on the usual important subjects; economic development, job creation, community relationships.
There were two questions that were relevant to local students surrounding recreational development and the councillors’ vision for people under 45.
In terms of recreation, Larry Samson mentioned development for families, such as improvements to the soccer fields to all weather terrain, Strathcona Gardens pool and arena upgrades, and supports the plans for a mountain bike skills park. Other councillors echoed the same ideas, adding illumination of fields at night and underlined the fact Campbell River has a unique outdoors that the community can better benefit from. Candidate Les Lengyel even mentioned his support for the Youth Center, a project the city’s Youth Action Committee has been spearheading for three years.
Former mayor Charlie Cornfield made it clear he wanted the opinion of young adults, and even suggested forming a council such as the local student-based committee, as well as the seniors’ council.
In answering the question surrounding vision for people under 45, Cornfield was the only candidate to recognize how large that demographic is, stating the preferences for young families starting their career are different than those of a single 19 to 25 year old living in the same city. He then mentioned the importance of community support for post-secondary education, in order for younger demographics to become young professionals.
Nearly every other question that was asked and answered pertained to the economic development of the city. Many councillors offered the idea that young people, to be engaged in job development and therefore support of a growing local economy, can get a trade and start a business. Younger generations becoming young professionals was the goal.
Given the audience in attendance at the election forum, the topics discussed were natural, as well as the way the questions were answered. Moreover, youth and students were mentioned fairly often at the forum. I believe our voices will be taken into consideration during development of the city, given that our voices were pertinent even that evening.
The only thing I wonder about is the support by the community for youth pursuing the arts, or even academia as opposed to getting a trade. Without the mention of this demographic, or any vision for development by municipal government, I worry artists and students will starve in Campbell River more than they would elsewhere.