Editorial — Making a difference

Municipal elections really make a difference in our day-to-day world.

Municipal elections may be the “red-headed stepchild of democracy,” as Black Press columnist Tom Fletcher says (page 16). However, they are the elections that really make a difference in our day-to-day world — in the community we live in, pay taxes in, send our kids to school in and work in.

Here in Langley, there are actually three separate elections going on. One is for the Township council — by far the hardest-fought and most contentious.

Township council is charged with providing public services such as police and fire protection. It is responsible for roads, sewer and water. The latter two services are not available to most rural residents, except at their own expense.

The Township also plans the urban,  commercial and industrial areas. It provides recreation and cultural services, and of course, parks.

All of these are services that are used every day by many Township residents, and the community would be far different without them. Choosing the people who will oversee the provision of these services is an important task, and will shape the future.

The same can be said of Langley City council, which provides services in a dense (and becoming denser) area. It has to deal with redevelopment much more than the Township does, and urban services like transit and how it is provided are important issues to many City residents.

The Langley Board of Education, which has received little attention in this campaign, provides a vital service to the young people of this community. It is doing so with an accumulated deficit of $13.5 million, which can be linked to the distraction and inattention of administrators, auditors and trustees in the past.

Little has been said about how this deficit, which has to be repaid, is affecting students’ education.

The new board also has to deal with providing new schools to fast-growing Willoughby, and one controversial decision to dispose of a school site west of 200 Street needs to be revisited, given that the area is far from built out.

In addition, the new board must work much more closely with Township council so that both know how development affects education.

There are plenty of reasons to vote on Saturday. Do yourself and your community a favour and participate.