Election candidates talk health at forum

  • Oct. 16, 2013 3:02 p.m.

Candidates for City council and mayor tackled issues of health and wellness at a recent election forum held at Westerner Park.

Three questions were given to all of the candidates and included ‘What do you think of the City’s efforts of promotion of health and wellbeing in the last 10 years?’ ‘What are your plans to promote health and wellbeing in the next four years?’ and ‘How are you going to make plans happen?’

Each council candidate had two minutes to answer the questions with the mayoral candidates having three minutes each.

Lawrence Lee said the health and wellness is a community responsibility.

“Even before that, it is a parental responsibility. So we as a municipality have an obligation to the public interests and the demands that we support healthy citizens. My solution to this is to have a master plan just like we do for transportation and infrastructure – we should have a master plan for health and that will be my priority moving forward,” he said.

Ken Johnston added he thinks that good efforts have been made to encourage active living, empowering people to take charge of their own health.

“I think we can create and promote a culture of wellness in our City,” he said. “Better lifestyle choices – exercise and diet have a direct impact on health, so it is critical we provide and promote as a City, the infrastructure in a variety of ways across all demographic groups throughout the year that promote this. I intend to advocate for agencies that are devoted to this type of delivery.”

Council incumbent Lynne Mulder said she believes the City has made “remarkable progress” in terms of promoting health and wellness in the last number of years.

“While we know health is a provincial responsibility, we are now the municipality embracing and defining the City’s role in health promotion and prevention. This past term we have developed a strategic plan which reflects what we believe we heard from our citizens,” she said. “The overarching theme of this plan is building a healthy community. We’ve increased the number of community gardens which allows our citizens to grow their own fruits and vegetables. We’ve engaged in a movement study and made a commitment to ensure that our infrastructure supports all mobility options.”

Tanya Handley added health and wellness starts in the home.

“As a mother of three children, it is vitally important to me that we have a city that offers opportunities for children to get out and get active and be fit,” she said. “Red Deer has made great strides in the last 10 years towards this end. We love when we get the Community Programming Guide in the spring and fall and the kids grab it and see what opportunities we have. We need to ensure these opportunities are available to all children regardless of the socio-economic environment they have been raised in.”

In addition, Victor Mobley said the City has good recreational facilities already.

“One thing we need to continue to do is to promote those facilities and make sure people have access to them by making them affordable.”

Also in attendance at the forum were Jerry Anderson, Bettylyn Baker, Terry Balgobin, Bob Bevins, Buck Buchanan, Matt Chapin, Steve Coop, Garry Didrikson, Serge Gingras, Calvin Goulet-Jones, Paul Harris, Lloyd Erland Johnson, Tim Lasiuta, Dawna Morey, Ben Ordman, Janella Spearing, Troy Wavrecan, Jonathan Wieler, Frank Wong, Dianne Wyntjes, Darren Young and Calvin Yzerman.

The mayoral candidates – William Horn, Cindy Jefferies, Chad Mason, Dennis Trepanier and Tara Veer – were also in attendance.

Candidates Dennis Moffat, Dan McKenna and David Helm did not attend.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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