ReThink Red Deer hosted the first of several election forums Tuesday evening and citizens were able to engage with candidates in round table discussions.
Candidates for Red Deer City council as well as Red Deer Public School and Red Deer Catholic School trustee were on hand for the forum, which was held at Red Deer College.
Candidates and citizens gathered around about 10 tables to discuss topics such as what the City’s priorities for developing the local economy should be and how the City should support business. Crime prevention and safety issues were also discussed.
Some of the highlights participants suggested the next City council should address included getting out of debt, adding more affordable housing to the community, looking at the public spending and the budget process, snow removal and more development in the downtown, among others.
Dennis Moffat, former City councillor suggested more residential as well as more hotels should be built in the downtown.
“I think we need to get some positive things happening in the downtown,” he said.
Lisa Johnston, candidate for Red Deer Public School trustee said currently there is nothing in the City’s downtown that attracts her.
“I don’t go downtown because there is nothing that draws me there,” she said. “I think it should be council’s goal to make downtown’s perception one that’s warm and inviting.”
Councillor Gail Parks said she makes an effort to frequently go downtown.
“I believe in our downtown and I make a conscious effort to go there,” she said. “I think it’s important that we keep downtown as a commercial enterprise. It would be nice to find a large department store that would be willing to be located in the downtown. We need something to draw people there.”
The next election forum will take place on Thursday at the Golden Circle. The forum gets underway at 1 p.m.