You get what you give to your town

It's a good thing that most of us still exercise our democratic right to vote. The question is, why doesn't everyone?

A sincere congratulations to everyone who voted and participated in the 2014 local government elections.

And to the rest of you, thanks for nothing.

At least 30 municipalities had over 50 per cent of the population casting ballots, including Ashcroft and Cache Creek.

Little Zeballos on Vancouver Island, though, deserves the gold star this time around with 89 of the eligible 102 voters casting their ballots for three mayoralty candidates and five council candidates. Good work, Zeballos!

Imagine if every community had that sort of spirit.

On the other end of the scale were the 10 communities were the entire council – mayor included – were acclaimed. The community had no election because the number of candidates running for election just filled the number of seats available around the Council table.

Some people would see that and say “Council must be doing a good job.” Or “We saved money on an election we didn’t need.”

Clinton (521 voters), Granisle (392), Hazelton (276), Lumby (1,443), New Denver (441), Princeton (2,723), Radium Hot Springs (806), Silverton (175), Queen Charlotte (686) and Sun Peaks (307). This is Sun Peaks’ second municipal election, and they had only three candidates put their names forward for four Council seats.

I say it’s sad to see the majority of people in these communities taking no interest at all in their municipal government. Having no election must create a disconnect between taxpayers and council.

Democracy must be exercised, like a muscle. Use it or lose it.

Unfortunately, the fine policy makers in our provincial government have extended the term of office this time around from three years to four years, giving that muscle a little bit more time to atrophy.

To counteract that, we can hold on to the excitement of this last round of elections by staying connected, having a voice in decision making and making things happen in our communities by being a part of it.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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