It is now a year until the next local election, and people are already declaring their intent to run, or not, in 2018. In my case, I have declared that I will not run again, and three people have given an indication they will run for election as SCRD Director for Halfmoon Bay in my place. Already some candidates are speaking out about their political platform. As a constituent, you should study the information being presented by a candidate and determine whether it is the truth or alternate “facts.”
In my period in office, I have had people run against me for an elected position, and their political platforms did not have anything to do with the mandate of the regional district. The mandate includes water, solid waste, and bus transportation, zoning, and planning for buildings, parks and recreation centres. Some people who hope to be elected come out to attend board meetings to learn how the SCRD works, which is a good idea. Board meetings are normally held to adopt the material that was passed at committee level. To better understand the workings of the SCRD, a person thinking of running for an elected position should attend committee meetings, as that is where the debates and proposals for change normally take place.
The Stage 4 water restriction is an example of frustration for some elected officials and staff. The goal is to never again be forced to impose Stage 4 on residents supplied by Chapman Lake, but achieving this has become a slow process. First of all, many provincial environmental requirements must be met before the SCRD can improve the water-supply infrastructure. There are also those who delay environmentally safe water improvement at the lake by lobbying the provincial government to stop the project. Meanwhile correspondents to the local papers complain of the need to complete a water program immediately. Their points are justified, but it is an oversimplification to blame elected officials who must contend with others who are working against improving the system.
A more enjoyable part of being an elected official is attending public events such as social activities or fundraisers. An example for me is the renovation of the Sechelt Library fundraising dinner at Roberts Creek golf course on October 28, which I will be attending.
There is currently no training program for those wishing to run for office. Many newly elected officials are shocked to find out how much time the position takes to be effective, and what you are expected to know.
Please contact me at 604-741-2427 or e-mail me at email@example.com if you wish to discuss SCRD programs or plans.