Voting only part of the democratic process

Democracy isn’t something that takes place every three or four years — it is an ongoing process

The people have spoken and the course has been set for communities across the South Okanagan for the next three years.

While it is with some disappointment we recognize that the people who spoke out in Penticton represent only a third of registered voters, such is the nature of democracy. Penticton certainly isn’t alone in its muted response to civic duty, actually finishing above the provincial average of 29.5 per cent turnout in the 2011 municipal elections.

Whatever the reason so many chose not to participate in Saturday’s vote, the candidates all deserve our appreciation. It’s not easy to submit yourself to the harsh glare of the political spotlight with only your hopes for the community’s best interest to guide you along the way.

The candidates in Penticton did an admirable job or raising the issues that are important to the community’s future — and they did it in a civil manner without the partisan and mean-spirited attacks that are so prevalent in provincial and federal campaigns.

We would also like to offer our thanks to those who actually did take the effort to get out and vote. But marking an X on a ballot is just the beginning of your obligation.

If you are truly interested in what happens in your community, you will monitor the actions of your mayor, councillors, regional district director and school trustees.

Municipalities hold public information sessions on a variety of issues such as budgets, or changes in traffic patterns. More formal hearings are held for rezoning and official community plan amendments that involve land uses and development. If you feel you will be impacted by any of these proposals, ensure that the elected officials and civic employees hear what you have to say.

Democracy isn’t something that takes place every three or four years — it is an ongoing process that requires as much from the ordinary citizen as it does from those who govern  us.

— Black Press