By Laura Balanko-Dickson
Westwind Weekly News
The mayoral candidate race is between two candidates. Incumbent mayor Jim Depew is running against Brian Eakett this election, with both of them taking centre-stage during the Raymond election forum.
Eakett’s campaign is trying to cater to business owners through a “simplified and subsidized” development process, preserving town investments, and introducing a collaborative spirit to council meetings to bring everything together, without any significant direction as to what that might look like.
Also, Eakett plans to be a “hands-on” mayor if elected and suggests he “will not allow nepotism” should he be elected as mayor.
Meanwhile, Depew is relying on his reputation in the community for re-election. According to Depew, he is”not a bully or a dictator” and “very approachable.”
Despite his best efforts to not raise taxes during his last four years, there was a rise in taxes due to a review from the provincial government. Moreover, he stated he wants to find new revenue streams for the Town of Raymond.
Recently, Depew did vote against the amendment to the cannabis land-use bylaw that was carried by Raymond town council.
There was some tense debate between the two candidates, with lots of back and forth, but Eakett claimed an alleged presence of nepotism during Depew’s time as mayor, and Depew stated there was a supposed lack of direction and planning by Eakett.
When asked about corruption within the town, Depew said this iteration of Raymond’s municipal government is “way more transparent than councils of the past,” they are “sensitive not secretive,” and something that should not be openly discussed, but should be considered under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIP), so as not to “spoil the opportunity.”
When Depew was asked about why the town privatized a town cleaner’s job and hired a contractor in response — one that later hired the town director’s wife — he said, “her work wasn’t up to the standard, so we hired someone else,” adding, “I had no idea.”
Eakett didn’t hesitate to disagree with Depew, saying, “Secret stuff is not right and has been going on for far too long,” and, “If it’s not a secret, then why doesn’t everyone know about this?”
He then committed to equal opportunity by vowing that he “will not allow nepotism.”
Depew criticized Eakett for not having a plan, even going as far as to suggest that the only difference between him and Eakett is that he “has a plan,” adding, “We have a plan. A good plan.”
Depew says his plans are to slash spending, keep taxes low, and look for new streams of revenue.
Raymond’ Municipal Election is set for Oct. 18.
For more information on voting during this municipal election, visit raymond.ca/elections.