EDITORIAL: Three-year municipal election terms could be beneficial

Shorter terms may encourage more young people to run for office

It’s that time again folks.

The election period for the 2018 general municipal election officially kicked off on Jan. 1, meaning residents across the West Shore can expect candidates to be handing out pamphlets and knocking on their doors asking for their vote in the days, weeks and months leading up to the Saturday, Oct. 20 voting day.

Candidates across B.C. are elected to four-year terms. But the District of Metchosin recently threw its support behind a draft resolution to be sent to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities that would reduce that term from four to three years.

RELATED: Metchosin supports moving to three-year municipal term

Mayor John Ranns and Coun. Moralea Milne believe in smaller communities, where the workload is large and the stipend is very little, moving to three year terms can be beneficial on many levels. It would hold mayor and councillors accountable to their actions and would encourage more young people to run – and we agree.

Four years is a long time to wait if residents’ visions for their communities don’t match the vision of those making the decisions. Take, for example, Nanaimo city hall, where tensions ran high for most of 2017. Last January, the City launched a lawsuit against Mayor Bill McKay, alleging he shared confidential information with a former staff member who was preparing to sue the municipality. That lawsuit was later dropped.

The drama continued this month when McKay and another councillor were censured by council and told to write apology letters to the city’s chief administrator, who they say was treated in a disrespectful manner.

Three-year terms may also encourage more young people to run and inject more life into municipal office – what some have called “the old boys club.”

A shorter term also encourages more mayors and councillors to run for a second term as six years doesn’t seem as onerous at eight.

There is a case to be made for four-year terms in larger municipalities such as Vancouver or Victoria, but for the smaller ones such as Metchosin, Highlands and View Royal, it’s something worth considering.

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