Mayor addresses candidate’s meeting

The pressure was off Mayor Colin Ferguson at the Silverton all-candidates forum on September 29, as he was acclaimed to the job for another four years. But the sophomore politician did add his thoughts about issues that were raised by citizens at the forum.

After the main question-and-answer part of the evening, he took a few moments to add to the answers council candidates gave on various subjects:

He admitted the municipal government has gone through a rocky period, but said council had ‘planted seeds’ for a better future.

Replacing an aging watermain “is a happening thing” this council term, he said.

He agreed sidewalks and bridges are “not looking great,” and narrowing the highway to calm traffic moving through town is a good idea, but it would take time, planning and money to effect changes.

He said there were no easy solutions to the problems between the owner of the Silverton Inn and the village. He said it wasn’t being ignored.

He also agreed the footbridge over the creek needs to be replaced, but it is “a question of money,” he said, noting it could cost $160,000 or more to do the work.

The fibre-optic last-mile project is another that will take money and time. But he said it was crucial to the health and economy of the area, and promised communication on the project will continue. He said there are several initiatives, including an improved website, that should help keep citizens informed on all the Village’s issues.

The health of the lake is an issue, and there’s growing awareness we live in a finite world, he said. “We have to make a lot of changes, and it’s going to be very difficult.”

In fact, money and staffing are the major limiting factors in many of the projects and issues raised by the public at the meeting, he noted.

“The Village doesn’t raise any money… we all pay taxes, but it is diddly squat on the budget line. We survive on grants,” he said. “For things like sidewalks, boulevards, and Main Street, it’s not looking great.”

Ultimately, residents should know that there are limitations to what any council can accomplish, he said.

“The council has this much of desire,” he said, raising his arms wide in front of him. “And we have this much staff,” he said, moving his hands close together. “So we can come up with some great ideas, without even a beer, and we can throw those ideas on the table. But we only have so much staff, so much money, and we have to fit this much ambition into this much reality.”

But Ferguson said all the issues remain on the docket and he was looking forward to working with council to tackle them in the years to come.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice