Around four months from now, British Columbians will head to the polls to select the people they want as their mayors, councillors, school trustees and regional district representatives for the next four years.
This level of government does not attract the same level of attention as provincial, federal or international politics. In many communities, fewer than half of eligible voters will cast ballots and many office-holders will be acclaimed with no vote at all.
However, the decisions made at the local level have a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of community residents.
Building variances, dock permits, parks improvements, road work projects and similar initiatives have the potential to change the character of a neighbourhood or a community.
The same holds true for decisions on regulating short-term rentals in residential neighbourhoods, setting policies on the numbers and locations of retail cannabis shops and many other matters.
In addition, every community in this province is facing some huge and unprecedented challenges such as housing shortages, crime trends, the effects of the ongoing opioid crisis and more.
These matters and others require wise, thoughtful people at the decision-making table. There are no easy answers or quick-fix solutions.
For elected officials at the local level, the schedule can be demanding and the decisions may be difficult, but the work is necessary. What happens at council, school board and regional district meetings will affect the character of a community.
This is the time for those with a strong interest in their communities to consider running for office in the fall.
Take time to read the agenda packages and to watch or attend meetings to gain an understanding of the decision-making process. Sit down with a present or former council or board member to discuss the rewards and challenges of the job.
Then, consider filing the necessary nomination papers.
Wise voices will be needed in order to make the best decisions for our communities.
— Black Press