EDITORIAL: Get out and vote Saturday in Parksville byelection

Five candidates are vying for a city council position

What if you held an election and hardly anyone showed up?

That would be a shame and we’re hopeful that won’t be the case this weekend in Parksville.

Saturday is voting day for the city council byelection. Parksville residents can cast their ballot at the Baptist Fellowship Church on Pym Street from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Municipal elections — the main ones, not byelections — usually have a lower voter turnout than their provincial and federal counterparts. That’s a difficult stat to figure.

You have a better chance seeing a city councillor at the grocery store or theatre or ball field than you have seeing your Victoria or Ottawa rep in the same places. If you have spent any time in a town or city, you likely have a personal or professional connection to those who are running for office and those who have been elected to council.

What’s more, your bank account and daily life has more direct connections to the municipal government than that of the province or country. Think property taxes, sewers, roads, water, business licences, development permits, parks and bylaws.

You can also watch your local government in action, if that’s what it is, in person. Sure, reruns of Happy Days might be more exciting, but the point is you can likely walk to city council chambers to watch the proceedings. Victoria and Ottawa are considerably longer walks.

The timing for this particular byelection is interesting, too. There are still two years left in this council’s mandate, enough time to make a difference.

About that. Can one person, one vote on a seven-person board, make a difference? With this council, absolutely. In fact, this council could use a shot in the arm right now, a new voice with a different perspective, someone who doesn’t carry the baggage of these less-than-stellar past two years.

We are not about to endorse or handicap the candidates or the race in this space. During elections, we see our job as a conduit, a place where readers can learn about the candidates and where they stand on the issues. We have provided them with space to tell readers a bit about themselves, we hosted an all-candidates forum and we have presented stories with the candidates’ views on issues.

The five candidates for city council have done their job well. They have stood up, had the courage to put their names on a ballot and have displayed a caring passion for their city.

Now it’s your turn. Please vote on Saturday.

— Editorial by John Harding

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