Editorial – Vote for your community’s future

Richard Froese

Voters go to the polls Oct. 18 to elect municipal councils and school boards.
Held every four years, local elections often create the most interest in government elections since candidates are local and deal with local issues.
It’s important for voters to get out and cast their ballots to elect local representatives to help shape their communities for the next few years.
Looking at the list of nominations as published in the Sept. 20 issue of South Peace News, some ballots will be lengthy.
The Town of Peace River, with a population of 6,900, has 20 candidates for six councillor seats and three candidates for mayor after the current mayor, Tom Tarpey, decided not to run.
Five candidates are after the mayor’s chair in the Town of McLennan, with a population of about 700, while seven candidates seek six seats for councillor.
Obviously a heated issue or two have stirred the pot in Peace River and McLennan to attract large fields of candidates.
On the other end of the scale, it appears three municipalities will not have local elections. All of them are in the Smoky River region.
All five council seats have been acclaimed in the Village of Donnelly and the Village of Girouxville.
The Town of Falher has five confirmed candidates for seven available seats on council.
Falher, Donnelly and Girouxville councils elect their mayors each year at the organizational meeting.
Falher and Donnelly both had to extend the nomination deadline to get more candidates to fill the ballot.
About 15 years ago, Falher council was reduced to a council of five from seven after the Town received insufficient nominations to fill the seats.
As rural populations continue to decline across Canada, some people wonder how and why small municipalities can survive and be sustainable into the future.
According to the federal census in 2016, Falher has a population of 1,050, Donnelly has a population of 342 and Girouxville has a population of 219.
Why does a municipality of 219 or 342 need a council of one mayor and four councillors and a town of 1,050 need a council of one mayor and six councillors?
Back in my hometown of Agassiz, B.C., the District of Kent has one mayor and four councillors serving a population of 6,000.
What is the most efficient and cost-effective way to manage and operate neighbouring municipalities, especially in tough economic times?
How can small rural municipalities survive alone?
It will depend on those who are elected Oct. 18.
Local elections are bound to get upsets.
What candidates will serve the best interests of the community?
Get out and vote for the future of your community.

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