The City of Portage la Prairie will welcome a new mayor once citizens head to the polls on October 26, and we are now starting to hear public concerns as we approach the election.
Portage la Prairie & District Chamber Of Commerce President Guy Moffat says his group is excited about the potential for another "All Candidate Forum." Where those looking to run for mayor participate in a moderated event as members of the Chamber and the public get a chance to ask candidates questions concerning their policies.
Moffat notes that this event is projected to be around the 18th or 19th of October.
The Chamber's president outlines topics the Chamber will look to touch on during the forum.
"There's been a fair bit of conversation lately around the increasing costs of policing on top of our city growing, I believe once we grow past 15,000 people, the policing requirements for our city changes," says Moffat. "Something else I'm anticipating that will be asked of the candidates is, retention strategies for our current businesses and industries. What do they feel needs to happen within our city in order to help our existing business continue to grow and flourish while new businesses entering in? The Chamber would like to see further beautification of our main strip and are looking at something to be planned for what used to be the mall. There are still some businesses in there, we feel that the building needs to have a little bit of attention. It has not been looked after very much in the last few years, and we want to make sure that anyone entering Portage la Prairie from the west end is seeing everything that we've got to offer and noticing the beautiful community that we do have."
Moffat explains that the Chamber has optimism regarding dealing with a new mayor while noting that they will miss Mayor Irvine Ferris.
"We had a fantastic working relationship with Mayor Ferris, and he is a great guy. We really enjoyed working with Mayor Ferris, and we really appreciate the service that he's given to the municipal government," adds Moffat. "We are very excited about the opportunity for some new blood on the council and new blood in the mayor seat, with fresh ideas, fresh energy, and we're looking forward to some new ideas and possibly new direction and change. Change sometimes can be a little bit scary, but a lot of times it can be really good."
Moffat points out that the Chamber wants to thank all the candidates for choosing to run.
"It is a big time commitment. It is a big service that they are doing to our community. We really appreciate them putting forth the effort and time to run, and I'm looking forward to meeting these candidates at the all-candidates forum in October."
The Chambers president preaches the gravity of voting on October 26.
"It is extremely important to vote. My mother always used to tell me, 'if you don't vote, then you do not have the right to complain about the government that is in place.'"