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The 2022 Taylor Election All Candidates Forum recording from Tuesday. Due to technical difficulties during the live stream, the recording begins with conversations around the North Peace Leisure Pool.

TAYLOR, B.C. — The Taylor all-candidates forum introduced residents to several dozen candidates for mayor and council—and their answers to big questions that Taylorites face, like seniors housing, economic development, public pools, and transit to Fort St. John. 

Two incumbent council members running to keep their seats, Michelle Turnbull and Betty Ponto, both emphasized the importance of economic development in the community.

“As a part of economic development and all of its work in the community, it would encompass seniors housing and reliable transportation,” Ponto said when asked to choose between the three priorities. 

Turnbull agreed with her colleague.

“I absolutely believe that those— the seniors housing and the transit— totally fall under that category as well. It is something that we have been working on.” Turnbull noted that a study had been done on seniors housing and said it was a shame when seniors had to leave the community they have spent so much of their lives in for better care.

Murray Giesbrecht, a long-term resident, is also a candidate for council. He provided an unequivocal defence of senior housing as a major priority in the district. 

“I’ve seen dozens of times over the years [where] people that have lived here for 20, 30, 40 years get to the point where they can’t maintain their own home anymore and they have to leave the community that they’ve devoted most of their lives to because there’s just nowhere for them to stay in Taylor,” he said.

“They would’ve loved to have stayed in Taylor, but they couldn’t. So I think that, to me, is a very important issue that we should probably try to address.”

Gordon Davies, also a candidate for council and previously the director of operations for the District of Taylor, recognized that community to community transit “will open up all kinds of opportunities for our residents in Taylor.”

“It will provide more mobility for all members of the community and it would assist the seniors most…with transportation to and from pharmacies, doctor’s appointments, shopping,” he continued.

Transit was also a key to candidate Desirae Graziano’s platform—but, seeking to represent young families, she focused on a wider age group. 

“Transportation to and from Fort St. John for all ages [can help] to give youth a sense of independence and seniors less isolation and better access to amenities,” she said.

Raising a family herself in Taylor, Graziano said, is part of why she wants a seat on council. 

“I did run in hopes to represent the younger families of Taylor,” Graziano said. 

One family-focused amenity she wants to see continue is the pool.

“Bringing our pool back to operation would be an added bonus to residents,” she said. 

The candidates will be vying for four seats on the District of Taylor council. Should the two incumbents retain their roles, the table will still have space for two new faces.

The mayor’s chair is also up for grabs this election after current Mayor Rob Fraser said he would not run again. Brent Taillefer, a long-term city councillor, will face newcomer Peggy Alexander for the seat. 

With 30 years of financial experience, Alexander wants to see infrastructure and amenities improved through “smart decision-making.” 

“As your mayor, I have a vision to enhance Taylor through public engagement, improved infrastructure, and amenities for families and seniors,” she said. “I will sit down [and] set strategic goals about where the community wants to go. We need a medical clinic. We need amenities for families and seniors.” 

Taillefer is seeking similar amenities, changes, and improvements. He wants to continue work on improving senior housing, healthcare, public safety, street lighting, and youth activities.

He highlighted his experience doing so from his role on council and his life spent in the community.

“I have been on council for 11 years in preparation to be your mayor,” he said.

“I grew up playing ball hockey on the outdoor rink and swimming lessons here in Taylor. I now live here raising a beautiful family, three kids, with my wife,” he said.

The roles he has served—both on council and volunteering with organizations in the community—have originated from the same drive, he explained. 

“I’ve been volunteering in the community for as long as I’ve lived here… I do it all because I believe in servant leadership, and putting people first. I work for you,” he said.

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Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.