By Jen Dart
Every three years in British Columbia there is a municipal election, and this year it falls on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Voters in Tofino elect six Councillors and one mayor. This is a rather large slate of candidates for a town with a full-time population of only 1,800. The original reason for this larger council was the amalgamation of the Chesterman Beach neighbourhood into the District of Tofino many years ago. Additional seats were added to council to represent the views of these “new” citizens. This larger number was never corrected, although voters did have the option to reduce the number of Councillors in a recent referendum and turned it down.
Both residents and non-resident property owners can vote in the municipal election. Non-resident property owners have to register as voters and meet several criteria including having resided in British Columbia for six months just prior to the election, and having owned a Tofino property for a minimum of six months. As a Shore condo owner, you can qualify to make your voice heard in Tofino’s election. The district recommends you visit their office prior to election day to fill out an Application to Register. You will be required to provide two pieces of identification and proof of property ownership. Visit this district webpage for more information.
There is an advance poll on Wed., Nov. 9, and voting on both election days take place in council chambers at the Municipal Hall at the corner of Campbell and Third St.
The local Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, along with the Tofino Business Association, is hosting two All Candidates meetings – on Oct. 26 from 7-9pm and Nov. 16 from 7-9pm. Both meetings take place at the Tofino Community Hall on Arnet Rd.
There are two sources for news in Tofino covering the election. The Westerly News is the local print newspaper that’s also available online. In election years past, the Westerly has posed a list of questions to candidates and their answers are published in the paper. The paper also provides coverage of All Candidates meetings.
Local resident Ralph Tielelman’s blog Tofino News is also providing coverage of the election. Ralph’s blog is more informal and readers have the opportunity to comment on his posts.
Friday, Oct. 14 at 4pm was the deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers to run for council or mayor. For an up-to-date list of candidates, please see the District of Tofino website. At last check, there were 12 candidates for six Councillor positions and two for the mayoral post.
Council will be facing many issues during its next term, not the least of which is how to fund a secondary sewage treatment plant as the district has been mandated to do by the provincial government. Municipal politics are the closest level of access for most people, as the issues seem to most directly affect residents and property owners.
Image: Jennifer Stoddart