Fort Macleod and MD of Willow Creek residents had a chance Wednesday to see their candidates in action.
An election forum was held at the Empress Theatre so candidates could outline their campaigns and voters could ask some questions.
“I feel a real sense of community here tonight,” forum moderator Bruce Young said at the end of three hours in which candidates and citizens voiced their support and interest in Fort Macleod.
On Monday, Oct. 21 the voters will use that information to make their choices in the 2013 election.
Candidates for the first time will be elected to four-year terms in Alberta, rather than three.
Incumbent Fort Macleod mayor Shawn Patience is being challenged by one of his council members, Susan Koots, as well as newcomer Rene Gendre.
Incumbent councillors Donna Houston, Sharan Randle and Gord Wolstenholme are seeking re-election. Trevor Curran and Sharon Monical are not entered in the 2013 race.
Challengers for the six council seats are Mike Bourassa, Ted Buzunis, Mike Collar, Werner Dressler, Michael Dyck, Brent Feyter, Trish Hoskin and Keith Trowbridge.
At the election forum, which attracted more than 300 people to the Empress Theatre, the candidates each gave opening statements. Those statements can be viewed in full at www.fortmacleodgazette.com.
Young then opened the floor to questions from the audience, which filled most of the next two hours.
Discussion centered on a variety of issues including economic development, the need to attract more doctors, keeping young people in town, early child development services, the proposed business park, seniors’ housing, marketing the town, the Willow Creek Foundation and a perception the town discourages private developers.
People also questioned Gendre, Collar, Dyck and Feyter on why their campaigns are linked. They said they are of a like mind on issues but will work with whomever is elected.
Candidates in Division 2 of the MD of Willow Creek are incumbent Ed Neufeld and John Kroetsch.
In Division 3 incumbent Phil Wakelin faces a challenge from Maryanne Sandberg.
Division 1 incumbent Henry Van Hierden was elected by acclamation.
Granum residents also go the polls on Monday to vote for five candidates from a list that includes incumbents Gerry Brown, Walter Gripping, Birthe Berger and Shirley Murphy and challengers Barin Beresford, John Connor, Sandra Danyluk, Zoria Harrison, Leonard Kultgen, Herb Pitchko and Nina Shimp.