New four year term not popular with Haida Gwaii politicians

  • Mar. 10, 2014 1:00 p.m.

For island councillors and mayors, the BC government’s decision to extend local election terms to four years is understandable, but not ideal for small communities.”Personally, I don’t like it, but I understand what they’re doing,” said Port Clements Mayor Wally Cheer. “It seems to me it’s more appropriate for urban areas where elections are expensive. It’s not so much an issue in smaller communities where we don’t incur a lot of expenses to run,” he added.Masset mayor Andrew Merilees said that when they voted on this issue at the Union of Municipalities of British Columbia (UBCM) meeting, there was a divide where larger communities wanted four years and smaller communities wanted three.”I make $7,000 a year and councillors make half that. In larger centers, council is remunerated more heavily. Four year terms mean an extra year of paid employment and more time to complete their mandate,” he said.Mayors and councillors in small communities can’t rely on their council income alone, and Mr. Merilees pointed out that mayors in the past have lost jobs and had to leave their position prematurely in order to seek work off-islands.”Truly, it is a volunteer position. It probably costs you more than you make. And, it’s a really big commitment,” said Carol Kulesha, mayor of Queen Charlotte.Charlotte councillor Kris Olsen worries that the longer terms might discourage young people from putting their name forward because they’re often in a position where their lives, families and jobs are variable.Another concern for the four year terms takes the public’s perspective.”As a person in a municipality, if you have a lousy council, you know they’ll be moving out in three years time and you get to re-elect. But, in a four year system, you’re stuck with them one more year,” said Mr. Merilees.There is some benefit to the longer time in office, said Ms Kulesha.”I wouldn’t want to discourage someone from running. The first year is a tremendous learning experience. In the second year, you’re starting to get your stride. The advantage of four years is that you have a couple more years ahead of you,” she said.Charlotte councillor Greg Martin is just happy they didn’t choose two year terms, because then communities are constantly in election mode. Even so, he said he’d have preferred if they left it at three years.Mr. Cheer summed it up well, “Three years is a long time, but four years is even longer.”

Just Posted

Masset fishing derby proves to be a catch

All ages participated in the competition to bring in the top salmon and halibut hauls

Queen Charlotte explores banning single use plastics

Council seeking community input on options to reduce plastic waste

Yarn Bombing mastermind is back in town

Big Canada Day longweekend in the works

Taking on the World

Townsend’s Warblers are ready to fly the coop

Maritime Museum project receives legacy grant

A special project of the Dixon Entrance Maritime Museum Society has been… Continue reading

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

Rich U.S. donors fund anti-oil activism, meeting hears

Much of the organized opposition to oil and gas development in Canada… Continue reading

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Most Read