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This article was published 10/10/2018 (979 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
SPRUCEWOODS —The RM of Cornwallis Ward 1 and Reeve candidate forum played to a full house Tuesday night, with the event reaching standing room only.
"This is really great," Ward 1 candidate Jim Carvey said. "It shows the commitment of the community to make a better community."
Carvey was joined by reeve candidates Jim Crang, Bill Courtice and Shane Drohan along with Ward 1 candidates Rustam Dow, Dave Shelvey, Sam Hofer, Kurt Wasserberg and Larissa Ann Gray, who all made their cases to a crowd of more than 70 people at Waggle Springs Hall in Sprucewoods.
Infrastructure maintenance, spending money wisely and balancing everything within the growing communities of Cornwallis were among the chief concerns raised by candidates.
Maintaining the roads in the RM was brought up by both candidates and audience members alike, along with ensuring that water quality and sewer needs are met in the expanding community.
"The biggest challenge has been — and will be moving forward — is our roads," incumbent Coun. Sam Hofer said.
A large portion of the municipality’s budget is put toward road maintenance, Hofer said.
Striking a balance between maintaining and supporting farmland, while supporting residential and commercial growth was highlighted, which tapped into candidates’ dissatisfaction with the Brandon & Area Planning District, which audience members shared. The prevailing thought of the night was that the district benefitted Brandon to the detriment of the participating RMs.
The district is a partnership between the RM of Cornwallis, City of Brandon and RM of Elton, which was created to link the three municipalities together to deal with land use and land development issues.
Hofer was quick to point out that the RM is in the process of leaving the deal, along with Elton, by 2020.
The deal was integral to bringing Maple Leaf into the area.
"Annexation is not cut and dried — it’s a tricky process," Hofer said.
Concerns were raised that the annexation had stymied growth in the community.
Finding a way to encourage growth without raising taxes was raised by a number of candidates.
Supporting growth in the community was cited as a way to help generate money in the district, but this is made difficult as infrastructure investment is needed to increase residential and commercial areas.
The community’s gravel pit was cited by a number of candidates as carrying much greater potential than is currently being realized.
"We have some of the best gravel in Manitoba, and I think we’re mostly going on people’s honesty to say how many loads are going out of the gravel pit," Crang said.
Communication within the community was another concern of candidates, with many offering to go door-to-door to speak with residents first-hand, and hosting public forums to ensure public opinions are heard.
As part of this, candidates wanted to ensure decisions made by the RM are presented in easy to understand terms for the community.
Updating the RM’s online presence was also cited as a priority among a majority of candidates.
"The RM should be more of a hub for everyone," Drohan said. "We should all be aware of all things happening throughout the RM."