The date has been set for a by-election in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) that will elect new directors for Beaufort and Cherry Creek. The results from last October’s civic election were set aside in those areas after the Supreme Court determined that the October 2018 municipal election results were invalid.
The by-election is set for Saturday, Apr. 6. The nomination period opens on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 9 a.m. and runs until Friday, Mar. 1 at 4 p.m. Advance voting opportunities will be available on Wednesday, Mar. 27 and Tuesday, Apr. 2, with locations to be determined. Mail-in ballots will also be accepted.
The cost of running the by-election is estimated to be between $5,000 and $7,000.
Chief election officer Wendy Thomson said during a board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23 that polling stations will attempt to mitigate the errors that caused the by-election in the first place.
“We’re going to definitely educate the public more ahead of time to check and find out where they reside or own property,” she said. The polling stations will also have computers with a database that can quickly look up addresses.
Tanya Shannon stepped forward during Wednesday’s meeting to thank the board and ACRD staff for their work. Shannon was elected as Beaufort director after Mike Kokura stepped down for the first time in 40 years.
“I just wanted to point out, if no one else noticed it, the irony of the longest run in Beaufort, followed up by what I’m assuming is the shortest,” Shannon said on Wednesday.
She also brought up concern about representation for the two areas, especially during budget deliberations. She suggested a mail-out for all the residents in Beaufort and Cherry Creek, explaining the election and how residents can get involved in budget talks.
ACRD CAO Douglas Holmes confirmed that ACRD staff are hoping to reach out to the communities by mail.
“We’ve been talking a great deal about that,” he said. “It’s a peculiar situation to actually go over the budget deadline without a representative in two areas.”
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has advised that appointing interim directors to the board is not an option. The seats will remain vacant until the new election is held.