As I previously reported, about 25 people showed up on Thursday, August 27 to hear candidates for Parrsboro Town Council answer questions about key issues.
Now that Norman Rafuse has won the council seat, it may be worth looking again at his answers including ones that I did not report in my earlier piece.
The event, organized by the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade, was moderated by lawyer Tom MacLaren who asked the candidates the following question:
Given the recent motion by the existing town council concerning dissolution into the county, will you support town council’s decision or work against it?
Norm Rafuse: Well, on September the 5th if the people of Parrsboro elect me, I figure then that I lose my personal opinions. If I’m elected by the people of Parrsboro, I will work for what they want.
Moderator’s other questions
What is your vision for development and growth of the Parrsboro area?
Norm Rafuse: The FORCE project is something that I’ve been very close with ever since it started and that is something that people have got to realize that that is going to create a lot of work and a lot of people and will be a great thing for Parrsboro. Tourism is another that we definitely, we have to build on. We’ve got the raw material here and we just need people to go out there and put it together and start using it. Another item that I seen that will help this town a lot, you might think this is kind of silly to say, but it’s the senior citizens because the seniors here need places to live and we also need nursing homes and those are things that are very important and we have the ability to put things up. Hopefully in the future we will soon see something started.
If Parrsboro does dissolve into the county, will you re-offer for election to represent our area as a county councillor?
Norm Rafuse: Yes I would provided my wife would allow it. (laughter from audience)
Questions from audience
Expanding on the tourism issue and as well just on the residential pride, how do you all stand on the issue of unsightly premises and what would you like to do about that?
Norm Rafuse: That’s something that I do not agree with. I’m not exactly sure what could be done because I don’t know the laws and bylaws of the town but that would be one of the first things that I would dearly love to see happen. There’s a lot of places around here that need to be cleaned up.
I see Parrsboro as a retirement community. I’m not from here, we decided to retire here along with a number of other people. I think it’s fantastic to draw in seniors into the community because we have so much to offer from hospitals to the Ship’s Company to the golf course and so on, we can list them all off. What are you prepared to do to encourage seniors from across Canada to move here because we do have cheap housing and we do have a lot to offer?
Norm Rafuse: One of the big issues that bringing seniors in here is the housing. There is a project underway. It’s not off the ground yet but it’s well underway to provide housing units for seniors’ use and I think this would be a great asset to the Town of Parrsboro because, for one thing, dealing with a lot of people that I deal with, a lot of them are from away, a lot of our customers are from Ontario and different places and I’ve had many of them say to me, “If we had a place to move then we’d move there.” Actually we are trying to provide some of that for them. You’ll probably hear more about this in the future.
You’re all running to fill a spot vacated by Rob Fancy. I’m wondering if any of you have taken the trouble to talk to him because he resigned his seat, not for health reasons, but for political reasons. What is your understanding of why he resigned and how would you fix it if you were elected?
Norm Rafuse: As far as talking to Rob, yes, I’ve talked to him many times. As far as his reasons for him leaving the council, that is his decision and it’s not something I feel is to be discussed in public.
[Paraphrased question] How are we going to keep our children here?
Norm Rafuse: How many young people want to stay here? [Audience member: “Look, they would stay if they had work.”] Well, I had four children and I could provide work for every one of them right now. [Audience member: “In their field of work?”] Yes, in their field of work and there’s not one of them that will want to come back here…[Audience member: “You do have some young people working for you this year I notice.”] Yes, we try to hire them every year. Tradesmen right now are getting very scarce and when we can find an apprentice coming out of vocational school, we grab them as quick as we can and this year we got a couple of good ones. And also over the years, half of our staff right now, started out as apprentices. But that’s only one field. Not everybody wants to be a carpenter. I agree with you. There’s got to be something here to keep children here.
Audience member raises question about disagreements concerning Parrsboro’s community radio station and the moderator asks candidates about the value of the radio station to the community.
Norm Rafuse: I’ll just say that I’ve supported the radio station since Day One with advertising. I would say that it is an important part of this town.
We’ve been talking tonight about seniors. What about those who aren’t quite there yet. Basically, back in the early 1980s, the Parrsboro and Area Development Committee was built out, it was supposed to bring in new industry. The building is there, but to my knowledge, it’s not being used. Are you going to be able to bring new industry in because if not, if we turn over to being all seniors, we’re going to end up losing our schools?
Norm Rafuse: The present building out there now that they started with was an incubator mall. That belongs to the Metal Fab now and it is used. I also have, our shops are out there. Our offices and buildings are out there and there’s also an empty building there. As far as the industrial mall out through there, the land and all that, that has been recently purchased and that’s where there hopes to be a development [to] go in there, a housing development.
Congratulations Norm! You will be amazing in this role. I’ve heard your enthusiasm and creative ideas. Look forward to seeing what the future holds for Parrsboro!