With the federal election now wrapped up, Pembertonians will head back to the polls on Nov. 7 to elect a new member to town council.
The by-election, which was called after Councillor Joanne Molinaro announced her resignation in August, pits a familiar face, ex-councillor Ted Craddock, against a newcomer to local government, Jasper Balsamo-Lack.
Both candidates spoke to Pique to lay out their case for the job.
After 20 years in municipal politics — including six as a Pemberton councillor — Ted Craddock announced his retirement from public office ahead of last November's local election. But when Molinaro's seat opened up, Craddock decided to throw his hat in the ring once more.
"When I saw (Molinaro had resigned), I just felt my experience and knowledge could help out the existing mayor, council and administration," he said.
While Balsamo-Lack doesn't have the same on-the-job experience as his opponent, he feels a fresh perspective at town hall is just what the Village needs.
"I don't have full experience at the job, but I think I bring a levelheadedness and a thoughtfulness that is needed," said Balsamo-Lack.
If elected, Craddock said one of the first items on his to-do list would be to renew discussions around several developments on the horizon, like residential projects proposed for Benchlands and the nine-hectare Tiyata Village.
"My understanding is that a few of those (projects) are now before council, and I think that's really important to the community," he said. "We need to find a way to get construction going. Construction creates jobs, a finished product creates taxes and it also encourages more young people to move to our community."
Balsamo-Lack also wants to see movement on a number of projects, and feels that delays at town hall are only costing residents in the long run.
"I think our town is going in a good direction, but I think there are certain things that need to go forward sooner," he said, pointing to the ongoing debate around replacing Pemberton Fire Rescue's 19-year-old pumper truck as a key example.
Balsamo-Lack also opposes restricting drive-thru restaurants in the village's Gateway section, which was debated at a public hearing earlier this month.
"I truly support our local businesses and I also know there are a lot of people who just drive through town... looking for fast food. It will provide more jobs in town," he said.
Both candidates feel they would bring a new dimension to the council table, but for different reasons.
Craddock said his "outside-the-box" thinking and strong financial acumen will keep money in Pembertonians' pockets.
"It's really nice to look at all the projects, assets and purchases we want to look at, but you have to balance that against what the people in the community can really afford," he said. "It's a young community and we want those young folks to stay, so we really need to find a balance there."
Balsamo-Lack touted his years of experience in Rotary clubs and the service industry as key to the many close personal relationships he's forged with community leaders over the years.
"We need somebody who's going to try and meld with the team. I think I have that centre vision for Pemberton and I'd like to pursue it," he said. "... and I have a cohesion with certain people already on council that I think would (help) in my transition."
Advance voting days are scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 28 and Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Village of Pemberton office at 7400 Prospect Street.
General Voting Day is Saturday, Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pemberton Community Centre.
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