At the beginning of Wednesday evening’s all-candidates forum for city council candidates, the eight running in the municipal election had a few minutes to explain their platforms to the crowd.

Long-time Merritt resident Ginny Prowal said she wants to contribute more to the community that has been good to her. She said as a councillor, she promises to research all proposals that come before council and come to meetings prepared to discuss and listen to others before making a decision. She said Merritt is in a period of change and there must be stability and cohesiveness at city hall to steer through the next four years, and she wishes to be part of that.

Incumbent council candidate Mike Goetz said his goal has always been to serve the public and be for the people. He said council needs to have a voice on where industry can locate within the city. He also said if he is re-elected, one Monday per month he will hold sessions at city hall where people can meet and discuss issues with him, which he can bring back to council. He also said he’d like to have a youth council, where local youth come and sit in on council meetings.

Incumbent councillor Harry Kroeker said he’s been proud and honoured to speak on the community’s behalf while on past city councils. However, he said he wasn’t going to make a lot of promises as council consists of seven people.

“I’ll make one promise, and that is that I will continue to work for you as hard as I can,” he said.

He said he’ll only support initiatives that are for the greater good of Merritt, and will provide people an opportunity to share their concerns, which will be taken back to council for support.

Local business owner Bruce McMurchy said he’s found that city council isn’t in touch with the businesses of the community, and said he’s heard too many complaints regarding hurdles to setting up a business in Merritt. He said there are too many rules, regulations and bylaws in Merritt.

He said as a councillor, he will enforce fiscal responsibility and be a team player.

Incumbent Dave Baker said he’s enjoyed working as a councillor for the past six years and wants to continue to serve Merritt.

Baker also said he wasn’t going to make many promises because although councillors can advocate for specific interests, it’s the responsibility of council as a whole to represent the broad interests of the community.   

Linda Brown was raised in Merritt and said she wants to make a difference in her community. She said her educational background — which includes a master of sciences with a double major in health planning and administration, and an accounting designation as a certified general accountant (CGA) — make her a solid candidate.

Brown said her primary goal if elected is fiscal responsibility, including reviewing budgets constantly and decreasing expenses rather than increasing taxes. She also said Merritt needs more economic growth.

Incumbent Kurt Christopherson said Merritt’s downtown needs to be reclaimed as a place where people are not afraid to venture in the evenings, and where citizens and visitors feel safe and welcome. He said Merritt needs to build on its strengths, such as its location as a major transportation hub and its people.

He said one of his main goals is to protect lifestyle qualities that make the area an attractive place to live and work while promoting new growth. He said if elected, his decisions will be based around affordability, sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Diana Norgaard said she stands for transparency in government, socially and environmentally responsible development in health care, affordable housing, family-friendly entertainment and a safe downtown. She said any development proposal that comes before her would need to have an environmental protection plan in place.

She said she would like to see town hall meetings brought back to the community.