Volume 94, Issue 39

Wednesday, November 8, 2000


Students grill Ward 2 candidates

City hopefuls address housing

Ontario put 60,00 students to work

Ryerson getting Star on campus

US elections affect Canada

Board of Control candidates square off on student issues

Planet Me

Board of Control candidates square off on student issues

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The University Community Centre Atrium was filled with election fever yesterday as Western held a London Board of Control all-candidates forum.

The candidates included BOC incumbents Russ Monteith and Diane Whiteside, as well as nominees Stan Hall, Gord Hume, Stanley Koza and Bud Polhill. Candidate Joe Swan was not in attendance.

Hall opened the forum with direct criticism of the current City Council. "No one is fulfilling what they said they would do in the last election," he said.

Hall cited failures to upgrade city sewage systems, the controversy and financial burden of the downtown arena project and the general failure of downtown economic growth, as key problems council has not addressed.

Hume defended council's record, citing a $500 million dollar Council initiative to improve London's sewer systems, as well as the numerous infrastructure projects the city has helped fund in a push towards downtown revitalization.

Koza said the financial debt council has accumulated in infrastructure projects, such as the new arena, could hurt citizens down the road. "I am concerned the economic policies of council could eventually force us to cut back on social programs," he said.

Monteith said he thinks Western students play an important role in London's economy. He said Council needs to continue to encourage economic growth to help provide students with jobs and keep them within the London community upon graduation.

He cited e-commerce, technology and bio-technology fields as the key areas which could expand economic growth and provide employment to young people.

Polhill said City Council has to work with the University Students' Council and Western administration to develop closer associations and an ongoing dialogue between the City and the university. "The gap needs to be filled," he added.

Council needs to create conditions in which small businesses will thrive, Hume said, which will give students better employment opportunities. "We need to encourage and entrepreneurial environment and cut the red tape," he said.

Hume said Council's funding towards the new library at the Galleria London, new entertainment facilities and its donations to the London arts scene will help the City's economic growth by bringing people to the downtown core.

Whiteside said the Board of Control focuses on city-wide problems, including the concerns of students. "There are key questions students want answers to," she said. "Full time jobs are what students are looking for."

She suggested negotiations between City Council and Western to help ensure student's needs are being addressed within the community.

Paula Marcotte, a concerned citizen in attendance, said she wished the issue of building London's downtown arena could be revisited by council because the public's concerns were not addressed in council's decision to move forward with the project.

"I think there should have been more talk about London's social problems," she said. "We need an inclusive community with affordable housing and social programs."

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