Black Press went to our readers to gather a list of questions they would like to ask the Kootenay West candidates in the upcoming provincial election.
The Kootenay West riding will have six names on the ballot: Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green) Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent) and Ed Varney (Independent).
We will posting one set of question and answers each day for the next week.
Q: Many schools in the region are forced to use portables due to overcrowding or have very old buildings. How will you or your party address infrastructure shortfalls in the region?
Glen Byle (Conservative)- A core value of Conservatives is to reduce the size of higher levels of government, reduce the amount of control that higher levels of government have, and to instead empower the local governments and local school boards to take the action that they believe will be best for their areas. Reducing the size of government higher up leaves more money for the local groups who know how to best run their regions.
Katrine Conroy (NDP) – While the previous Liberal government refused to build new schools, fell behind in seismic upgrading and allowed them to fall to disrepair, the BC NDP has already put a record $2 billion over three years for new schools, expansions, and seismic upgrades. An NDP government will continue to offer school districts capital grants through the Ministry of Education for projects like Glenmerry School in Trail, which has already been provided funding for replacement.
Andrew Duncan (Green) – The use of school portables was an issue when I was in school nearly 30 years ago when the NPD were in power — has nothing changed?! British Columbians need both new infrastructure spending and also prudent expenditure of public taxpayer’s dollars. Many communities needed new and larger elementary schools yesterday, that means the same communities will need larger high schools tomorrow. The BC Green Party understands this and it has not taken 30 years.
Fletcher Quince (Independent) – Educators are increasingly challenged to re-imagine what constitutes a classroom. As such, I am a strong advocate for a campus style model of education that makes use of under-utilized buildings within a community as a means of addressing infrastructure shortfalls. Paired with educational options such as online or alternative models of education (i.e., Seven Summits, Vallican Whole) increased work experience opportunities have the potential to decrease requirements for brick and mortar facilities.
Ed Varney (Independent) – Once again, lack of funding is why we have this problem. The money was there last election and is here again now. The money will most likely disappear on October 25th.
Liberal candidate Corbin Kelley did not submit answers to our questions.