EDITORIAL: Local politicians do make change

Local politicians can make a difference in our communities.

One of the most common complaints we heard from West Shore residents disgruntled with municipal elections was that local politicians can’t really change anything.

We beg to differ. Unlike this region’s MLAs and MPs, not one of whom is a member of a sitting government, the people we elect to sit on our municipal councils have a direct impact on how the most basic services are delivered in our communities.

They decide how your property taxes get spent and play a deciding role in how your municipality’s future will look, through voting on things like official community plans, zoning bylaws, major developments and the creation of facilities, services and programs.

Change is often a very gradual thing, but it will come more quickly to the West Shore based on this year’s municipal election campaign.

Colwood had three sitting councillors choose not to run this time around, while Highlands sees four current councillors off the ballot list, with Ken Williams running for mayor. Two existing Metchosin councillors are retiring, and one of View Royal’s four incumbents is running for mayor.

Sounds like a recipe for change if you ask us.

The head scratcher in the mix is Langford.

The dismal 14 per cent turnout the city recorded for the 2011 election was, quite frankly, an embarrassment for the fastest-growing municipality in B.C. While some might believe it to be an indication of satisfaction with the direction in which the city is heading, it comes off as more a sign that people don’t care enough to take part in the democratic process – or feel things are a done deal.

The fact just two councillor candidates over the limit of eight were running for office, isn’t much of an excuse for the poor response. Voting should be done positively, that is, you’re voting for someone you hope to see elected.

Having more candidates on the ballot can have a tendency to spread the votes around more, and with the margin often small between the last person elected and the first candidate no to be voted in, every vote counts.

Even more reason to get out and mark your ballot tomorrow (Nov. 15).

Not only that, Langford is the lone West Shore municipality with an amalgamation question on its ballot. While that in itself may not be a drawing card, it’s one more reason for residents to show up at the polls.

So for those people looking to vote for change, there are opportunities across the West Shore.