From left, 2017 Candidates for Mayor of Vermilion Kirby Whitlock, Caroline McAuley, and Bruce MacDuff.
Photos Angela Mouly
Approximately 200 people gathered at Lakeland College’s Alumni Hall in Vermilion on October 4, for the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce’s All Candidates Forum.
Vying for the municipal election positions, candidates were each given two minutes to expand on their political platform. Candidates for councillor and mayor positions were asked two predetermined questions followed by a set of audience questions, and a closing statement if desired.
Shawn Jacula volunteered to moderate the forum, and Bonnie Walsh kept time.
When asked what the councillor nominees’ visions for Vermilion were, Greg Barr said, “To bring down residential taxes and create jobs for people to come to.”
Rob Pulyk said, “I’d like to see a prosperous and safe community for everyone.”
When asked what Vermilion’s weakest link and greatest assets are, Richard Yaceyko noted the park and trail system, and said, “People are the strength; their volunteering and community spirit is awesome.”
Erwin Warkentin said, “Vermilion’s small business owners are its greatest asset.”
A weakness found in Vermilion is leakage by travelling elsewhere for groceries or sporting equipment,” said Clint McCullough who noted the turnout to the event and agreed that the people were Vermilion’s strength.
“People in Vermilion are willing to contribute time and energy to make the smallest difference in someone else’s life,” said Justin Thompson.
“All rural communities struggle to keep up with big box stores, but Vermilion has enough uniqueness to keep us going forward. The people and sense of community are strengths with everyone helping each other,” said Tannis Henderson.
Mayoral candidates next delivered their platforms and took turns anwering questions. Kirby Whitlock plans to initiate a business association to offer members of the community a voice.
“I’m always ready to listen to people, am wanting to put the best interest of the community forward to make Vermilion stonger, and keep the community at heart,” said Whitlock.
When asked what leadership means to them, current Mayor, Bruce MacDuff said, “A leader is the one that coordinates, chairs, and helps the group come to a good decision for the town.”
When asked about their vision for Vermilion, Caroline McAuley said, “I’d like to see a thriving, vibrant community.”
In closing, Kirby Whitlock thanked everyone for coming and said, “A Mayor position is only as good as the councillors and team around them.”
Vermilion Chamber of Commerce President, Brett Flanders, thanked the community for the support and noted that for anyone who was unable to attend, the forum was live streamed on Facebook. For more information, you can search ‘Vermilion & District Chamber of Commerce’ on Facebook.
Back row from left, Incumbent Candidates for Vermilion Town Council Robert Pulyk, Richard Yaceyko, Clint McCullough, and Greg Barr.
Front row from left, Candidates for Vermilion Town Council Justin Thompson, Erwin Warkentin, and Tannis Henderson.