Tough year ahead for council-elect

It requires a certain courage to open your life up to an election process. The Terrace Standard thanks all candidates for putting in their names, whether for city council, district board of directors, or school board trustees. Congratulations to all.

We followed the council race with great interest this year, and recognize how difficult the upcoming term will be.

The council elect shows a healthy diversity of age, gender and background, which we’re confident will foster good debate in chambers. You wouldn’t want a council comprised completely of environmentalists any more than a council of industrialists, not when citizens see the value of both.

The importance of diversity was hit upon several times at the recent All Candidate’s Forum. Following Evan Ramsay’s remarks on the topic, Lynne Christiansen offered a classy closing statement acknowledging the challenges younger citizens face in running for public office, stepping away from burgeoning careers and young families to fill a public-service role. We talk often about getting younger generations to participate in democracy, but as Christiansen pointed out, quite accurately we might add, that desire does not diminish the need for preceding generations to lend their voice and perspective as well.

“You wouldn’t want six of me, but I think one of me represents a good part of the population. I have something to offer.”

Well said.

Noted throughout this election was how busy the next four years will be. LNG is coming to the Northwest and now the business begins on how to mitigate the impacts. The negative slope of a major project like this has been an unpopular conversation topic previously, when all energies were spent attracting the business in the first place. But negative consequences there will be — housing, crime, policing, infrastructure and public works — all will be pushed to their breaking points if we continue with business as usual.

In the forum, Sean Bujtas appeared on the verge of a dramatic fist thump on the table, as he demanded for Terrace a fair share of resource revenue specifically for reasons like this.

LNG Canada has acknowledged all this, yes, and meetings have been taking place, but nowhere is there a guarantee of funds to help Terrace with the dirty work.

It can’t be understated how important this council will be for Terrace. Which also is why the voter turnout is alarming.

Today news analysts province-wide are crying apathy over the poor numbers this year. But the provincial figure of 35 per cent pales against Terrace’s 17.77 per cent of eligible voters.

If we were to receive a council body reflective of 17.77 per cent participation, it would earn us one councillor. So much for diversity.

The City of Terrace at 17.77 per cent of it’s current size would be about 10-square kilometres with a population of 2,040, serviced by a police force of four and half a doctor.

For the city to run at its full potential it requires the full participation of its citizenry. It’s a system designed for us to wield extraordinary power. Why on earth would 82.23 per cent of Terrace not use it?

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