B.C. Views: ‘Be a voter’

It’s odd that in a municipality of 75,000 people, not even 30 will run for council.

On any given Tuesday in the following three years, maybe 15 people will attend a council meeting.

And maybe, in a good year, 30 per cent of the people will vote in the civic elections.

Odd, because the municipal council, more than any other level of government, makes decisions that directly affect local residents.

These politicians decide how to spend your tax dollars, what gets built and where, not to mention where you can park your RV, or walk your dog.

So why do so few people seem to care?

In 2008, just 29 per cent of eligible voters in Maple Ridge turned up at the municipal polls.

It was worse in Pitt Meadows, where just 23 per cent voted, down from 27 per cent in 2005.

The District of Maple Ridge, in an attempt to encourage more people to vote on Nov. 19, has launched a new campaign, called ‘Be a Voter.’ It features selected members of the community on the district’s website, promoting participation in the upcoming election. The district’s website, mapleridge.ca, contains information on how to become a candidate, as well as how, when and where to vote, who is eligible. The district will also be active on Facebook and Twitter, updating key dates and events throughout the election cycle.

Hopefully, it works.

Voting for mayor, council and school trustee is as important as voting for an MLA or MP, only there are more candidates to choose from. Maybe that is the failing at the municipal level, voters have to pick from a pool of 30 or more, not three or four. Maybe the quality of the candidates is an issue. So it’s incumbent on voters to know their stuff.

We’ll do our best to keep everyone informed, but voters have to do their part – pay attention, read up, then get out and vote.

See you at the polls – Nov. 19, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News