Candidates for the Board of Alderman came together for a public forum Wednesday to discuss environmental and economic development issues facing the town.
The event, which was co-sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, touched on topics ranging from affordable housing to environmental sustainability. Candidates gave opening statements and showed their commitment to environmental issues in local government.
“There’s a myth that supporting business is always at the expense of the environment and I’m proud that Carrboro debunks that myth,” said incumbent Jacquelyn Gist.
The first question posed to candidates dealt with how the candidates would maintain economic stability in the town if they were elected.
“We’re hoping to grow the commercial tax base through mixed use development, so people don’t have to drive long distances for our goods and services,” said candidate Kurt Stolka, the vice chairman of Carrboro’s transportation advisory board.
The issue of public transportation and the growing number of commuters leaving Carrboro was a theme throughout the forum.
“All Carrboro can do is create a community that is attractive to families and industries in the area,” said candidate Al Vickers, a member of Orange County’s solid waste management advisory board.
The forum also addressed many of the environmental problems facing small communities, such as the large amount of food waste in landfills.
“We have brown bins for yard waste and those brown bins can accept food waste and if the county can’t process the composting we know contractors who can do it for us,” said incumbent Sammy Slade.
Carrboro’s close proximity to Chapel Hill and its involvement with the University’s students was the final topic presented by the committee to the candidates.
“One of the things we can maximize is using our open street events and festivals to involve students,” said incumbent Randee Haven-O’Donnell.
Candidates addressed keeping students in Carrboro after graduation.
“The best thing the town can do is to create an atmosphere where they have the opportunity to grow,” said Vickers.
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