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Oyama focus of debate
Lake Country council hopefuls have provided their vision for Oyama.
Mayoralty candidates James Baker, Noreen Guenther, Jayson McCarthy and Bill Clark attended a recent forum at the Oyama Community Hall as did Oyama ward candidates Rob Nairne and Owen Dickie.
When asked to share their views on how Oyama should grow in the coming years, the answers spoke to varying degrees of future development.
Nairne said building more homes in the area would change the characteristics of the community — something he is not eager to see happen.
Guenther brought up the idea of bringing sewer to Oyama, noting that while it is expensive, there are failing septic systems in the community.
McCarthy says infrastructure can be improved but it’s a minor detail in a bigger picture that focuses on the quality of social life in Oyama.
Baker said there is a need for jobs to attract young families to live in Oyama so there are enough students to keep the school open.
Clark sees Oyama as a developing centre for tourism with Gatzke’s Farm Market, Oyama Zipline and Oyama Lake Alpaca Farm as major contributors.
Dickie says the focus of Oyama should be agriculture but says some growth is desirable to supply the school with students and to improve public transit options.
When asked to give a five-year plan for Lake Country, the answers the candidates provided mentioned a variety of goals.
Dickie wants to see families living on Main Street in Winfield and says business development would happen after the arrival of a customer base.
Nairne wants to keep development off usable farm land — particularly the valley bottom.
Baker said that in a third term as mayor, he would continue to support best business practices when in comes to municipal spending.
McCarthy believes that after 20 years of talking about Main Street, it is time to take action and get the job done.
Clark says the most important thing is to diversify the tax base and sell the community to UBC-O and the tourism industry.
According to Guenther, the current supply of developable land is sufficient for the community’s need and that adding more would burden taxpayers with increased infrastructure costs.