Over the past few months, we’ve had endless discussion about who is running for office, who to vote for, who will make the best mayor, the best councillor and so on.
On Nov. 15, it comes down to the final crunch. True, with 25 council candidates and three for mayor, Penticton voters have a lot to choose from, and it’s going to be difficult picking the best mix. But as always, the most important thing is to make a considered decision and get out there and vote. As IntegrityBC says, considering that local councils in B.C. spend more than $8 billion a year of our money it is a bit of a paradox that most voters will find something else to do this Saturday.
In 2011, the last set of municipal elections, Penticton voters managed to beat the provincial average. But it’s not really a statistic to crow about. Across the province, only 29.6 per cent of eligible voters bothered to exercise their privilege. In Penticton, that jumped to a whopping 33.5 per cent.
Only 8,589 of the 25,363 eligible voters in Penticton took the time. What happened to the other 16,773? In Winnipeg more than 50 per cent of the city’s voters cast a ballot last month and Toronto had over 60 per cent. The last time that level was reached in B.C. was 1991.
This year, we saw some amazing results at the advance polls, with more than double the number voting than at the 2011 advance polls. It’s hard to say whether that is indicative of greater voter interest, or just longtime voters realizing they could take advantage of the relaxed advance poll regulations.
Or, for that matter, that the city decided to make one of the polls much more convenient, by holding it in Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.
This, as has been said many times in the past, is a critical election for Penticton. Dissatisfaction with the current council has been high, there will be at least three new faces voted in, and it will be for four years, instead of three.
That means that more than ever before, Penticton needs a council that is elected by the majority of its people.