The Langley Seniors Community Action Table hosted its second all-candidates meeting of the week on Oct. 12 to discuss issues of concern to local seniors.
The first meeting, held Wednesday, was for Langley City candidates and voters. On Friday, candidates running for a seat on Township of Langley council took their turn, addressing senior voters at the Langley Seniors Resource Centre.
Friday’s format was the same as the previous meeting, with groups of 10 people seated around tables and candidates given six minutes at each table to answer questions.
The questions were pre-written and each candidate had to answer the question within 30 seconds.
Approximately 120 seniors attended.
Among the topics covered were housing and development, transportation and infrastructure and future health facilities.
Twenty three of the 26 candidates were at the meeting to share their thoughts.
Incumbent mayor Jack Froese and incumbent councillor Bob Long were absent due to prior commitments. Terry Sheldon, a candidate who has never held a position in office, was also away.
One senior who attended the meeting, Diana Sampson, said the meeting was beneficial because it’s easier to pick up on more subtle cues.
“You can read their profiles, but it’s not the vibes you get when you’re talking with people.”
Another senior, Ruth Stewart, said during election time, seniors often have trouble accessing online platforms to get candidate information.
“It’s alright for those people (candidates) to say ‘look at my website,’ but some people can’t get to that because they are seniors and they haven’t gotten to that place.”
Stewart suggested the Resource Centre should set up a computer station that seniors can use to view online profiles and get help accessing them.
Stewart said the pre-written questions gave the meeting a good format, but noted that it didn’t cover all the issues she would have liked to discuss.
“There should be sufficient time to ask questions beyond the ones that are said. We didn’t have much time to say,‘What about that?’ more.”
During the round tables, seniors often asked about homelessness and affordable housing.
Mayoral candidate Alex Joehl said he feels the Township needs new opportunities and new ideas. Joehl suggested following an idea from Olympia, Wash., where he said the city took an old land plot and built a tiny-home community for which residents pay one third of their wage.
Council candidate Gary Hee suggested an idea of using community gardens as a way for residents to feed themselves. He said extra produce could be resold.
Senior Donna, who did not give her full name, said the meeting was ‘pretty effective’ and liked that the questions were selected beforehand. Her only critique was that she still had more questions to ask.
“Sometimes I wish you had the chance to ask your own question.”
Donna said the meeting helped to clarify who she plans to vote for.