Northwestern B.C. local election nomination period is now open

Candidates for Terrace council, Coast Mountains School District and Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine have until Oct. 20 to file

The official nomination period for the 2014 local government elections has now opened, with prospective winners having until 4 p.m. Oct. 10 to file their candidacy papers.

Open in Terrace is the mayor’s seat along with six council seats, while there are two Terrace and one Thornhill seat open on the Coast Mountains School District board and one Thornhill seat on the Kitimat-Stikine regional district board and one seat in the rural area north of Terrace reaching down to Lakelse Lake and further south.

Unlike past elections, which were for three-year terms, all terms are now to be four years. Those wishing to become candidates have to be at least 18 years of age and be a Canadian citizen.

Candidates must also be a B.C. resident for at least six months immediately before the day nomination papers are filed and not be disqualified in any fashion from either voting or being nominated.

Official nomination lists will be released once the paperwork submitted by prospective candidates has been checked.

Two people have already declared they wish to be the next Terrace mayor – current city councillor Bruce Bidgood and former city councillor Carol Leclerc. Art Erasmus, one of the two current Terrace school district trustees, says he’s running again as is Gary Turner, the Thornhill school trustee.

Locally elected officials do receive payment with the Terrace mayor, for example, receiving $34,500 a year and a city councillor $14,500. One-third of the payments is tax free, meant to reflect some of the cost of holding office.

Those who wish to be part of the school board might be anticipating a period of labour peace with teachers now that a six-year contract has been ratified.

Prospective municipal councillors and regional district directors will have the opportunity to build on an agreement signed earlier this year for northwestern governments to band together and lobby the provincial government for a share of the tax revenues that could flow should major economic development projects being planned ever take hold.

One current official who is running again, Ted Ramsey, the current regional district director for Thornhill, has already introduced his theme. He wants to incorporate Thornhill, not only to keep it separate from Terrace, but also make the rural community independent from the regional district.

“We’d have council and a mayor and all that stuff,” said Ramsey.

And he said the recent resignation of Doug McLeod as the regional district director for Area C, that’s the rural area north of Terrace running down south to Lakelse Lake and beyond, because he didn’t think the regional district was listening to people as much as it should on major decisions has added to the idea.

“All the recent controversy has changed the dynamics,” Ramsey said of citizen participation. He said a regional district form of government just doesn’t suit a community such as Thornhill. General voting day for all positions is Nov. 15.