Editorial — Candidates scarce in local elections

The level of interest in the 2014 municipal elections is very muted, at least to this point in time.

The guest editorial from the Campbell River Mirror points out the need for candidates to step forward, with local elections just over two months away.

Thus far in both Langleys, the lack of interest is obvious. A few candidates have informed The Times that they are running, a few others have mounted campaigns on social media and it is rumoured that a few others are ready to run. However, it is a far cry from the municipal election of 2011, particularly in Langley Township.

There were three candidates for mayor in that election, and no one was seen as a front-runner. The intense interest in the mayors’ race, combined with efforts by The Times and others such as Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce to boost the vote, led to an additional 4,000 turning out, as compared to the lacklustre 2008 election.

There was plenty of interest — almost too much — in the eight council seats. A total of 27 candidates ran, overwhelming voters at the polling booth and likely helping ensure that all incumbents were elected, despite a level of dissatisfaction with council. All but two actually lost votes from their 2008 totals, despite the additional voters taking part.

The election for the Langley Board of Education also was keenly-contested, with an informal slate which opposed many of the previous board’s initiatives taking control. The new board proceeded to fire superintendent Cheryle Beaumont, but has generally worked together well and has led the district back to a balanced budget position — a major achievement.

Langley City, as is usually the case, saw a boring campaign in 2011 and a decline in voter participation. All but one incumbent was re-elected, with former 18-year councillor Ted Schaffer returning.

Schaffer, who has been acting mayor since January, is expected to run for the top job in November, although he has yet to announce his intentions. He joins Township Mayor Jack Froese, one of the few to actually say he is running.

This time around, local councils and boards of education will be serving for four years, so the need for competent, committed councillors and trustees who are good listeners is greater than ever.