Less than a week before Longview voters head to the polls, candidates vying in this fall’s byelection are pushing full steam ahead with their campaigns.
Former mayor Len Kirk and new resident Walter Fox say they’re spending the two weeks before the byelection connecting with voters by going door-to-door to the approximately 100 homes in the village.
The byelection was called after Carole MacLeod, one of the three councillors elected in the Oct. 16 municipal election, resigned three days after being sworn into office.
The byelection takes place Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Longview Community Hall.
Longview resident, Len Kirk, served on council and as mayor and deputy mayor until 2007.
“I’ve had so much experience with the village,” he said. “I’ve had 20 years that I was on council, so I’ve got a lot of knowledge.”
Kirk is the founder of the Longview Jerky Shop, where he now works as a supervisor after passing his business down to his son. He is also the former Longview fire chief and firefighter.
Last week Kirk said he doesn’t have an election platform and will start going out in December to talk with Longview residents.
“I’ll just go around and meet people and find out what their concerns are and that’s what I will try to represent on council for them,” he said.
“I’ve lived here a lot of my life, except when I was in Fort McMurray, and I know a lot of their concerns already and hopefully I can bring that forward to council.”
Kirk’s wife passed away three years ago and he feels he has time to dedicate to council.
“It will give me something to do, keep me occupied in the meantime,” he said. “I hope I can serve the residents really well.”
One area that needs addressing at the council table, said Kirk, is the village’s aging infrastructure.
“There is infrastructure that needs to be repaired – sewage lines that were put in in the 1960s, the same with a lot of the towns and villages,” he said. “Some of that has to be looked at.”
Growth is also something Kirk said he would like to see come to the table.
“We’ve got to look ahead to the future and growth,” he said. “We need a lot more people in the village and a lot of kids to keep the school open. It takes population to do that.”
Since moving to Longview a year ago, Fox has immersed himself in the community and ran in the Oct. 16 municipal election, where he lost by a five votes.
Fox supports growing the village’s population and business opportunities.
“I want to see more families move to Longview,” he said. “In order to have families buy in, you have to have businesses.”
Since running in the byelection, Fox said he’s been speaking with people at the seniors’ centre and village office and started going door-to-door last week.
Fox said the focus of his campaign is on infrastructure.
“We have to have a fund of some sort to help our infrastructure,” he said. “We have to get something together where we’ve got a little money in case we have a broken sewer pipe. That stuff is very expensive. We have a very small tax base and raising taxes is one of the worst things you can do.”
During his communication with voters over the last few weeks, Fox said he feels confident that he has the support of many residents he spoke to.
“I’m not here for myself, I’m here for the village,” he said. “If I get in that’s what I’m here for is the village and what can we do to improve the village.”
Fox spent the past couple of weeks working with the Village to string lights on trees, buildings and fences in its inaugural Light Up Longview initiative that began last weekend and ends in mid-February.
“In the middle of the winter if you drive through a little town and it has all these lights it gives you a different feeling of the town – it makes it look like a warm place,” he said. “Maybe people will stop and have some coffee and there’s businesses making a little bit of money. It’s a way to get people interested in this area.”