In some ways it's hard to believe that four full years have passed since the last Municipal Election Guide issue of our paper was on store shelves. But four years it has been indeed, and now we are facing another municipal election on October 22, and we are hoping our election guide with full profiles of all 16 candidates will be helpful to our readers as they decide who will get their votes next month.
Long-time readers will know that this newspaper doesn't take part in the long tradition of endorsing candidates, so don't expect an October article outlining our preferred candidates. Instead, our goal has always been to give our readers as much information as possible and let them decide for themselves whom they want to support.
That said, when I am looking for candidates who will get my vote, I am looking for community oriented folks, with a strong emphasis on tackling the massive infrastructure funding deficit, and finding creative ways to address critical infrastructure repair and rehabilitation needs. I am looking for candidates who will concede that perhaps we as a society have been living beyond our means, and we might need to find ways to re-think our true infrastructure needs even if that might mean closing a bridge or two or reverting to gravel on some lesser-travelled rural roads.
While it might seem like it sometimes, when it comes to municipal concerns I'm not a one-trick pony, and infrastructure isn't my only focus. Candidates who will interest me will also have a strong focus on community building as well as continuing to bridge the gaps between rural and urban needs.
The candidates I am looking for won't make fool's promises like pledging to lower taxes – if a candidate truly understood the gravity of the coming infrastructure crisis, they certainly wouldn't even entertain the idea that taxes be lowered, let alone make such a promise to voters.
So I have my top concerns and issues that I am looking for candidates to address, and you, dear reader, no doubt have your own. Many have expressed concerns about winter roads control, or policing in the community, while I've also heard from many that would like to see the library project halted (though when I ask what they think this community will do to conform to provincial accessibility legislation without a new, modern library, I don't seem to get any answers). I've also heard from some readers about wanting to ensure responsible growth of the community, and others who feel there needs to be a re-focus on bringing new businesses, and by extension, jobs to the community.
Whatever is on your list of concerns, we at The Independent hope that our municipal election guide issue (in stores now) will help you to narrow your list of potential candidates, but don't stop there. Contact the candidates if you have specific issues you'd like to hear their thoughts on, attend the candidate meetings, talk to your friends and neighbours.
It's not an easy job to decide who to vote for in any municipal election, but we've armed you with the information about the candidates; now it is up to voters to do their homework and to decide who will best represent them for the next four years in the council chamber.
And finally, for the candidates, the next month is your time to shine. Don't be invisible, get out and meet the voters, share your thoughts and ideas. Be true to yourself, and loyal to your ideas, and don't let yourself be swayed into supporting ideas that will no doubt be tossed your way that just don't make sense. If you can't stand firm on your convictions during the campaign time, we certainly don't need you taking up space in the council chamber.
Best of luck to all of the candidates, and to the voters, who have a significant and important job ahead of them in sifting through all of the candidates in order to narrow their own list down to one mayoral vote, one vote for deputy mayor, and five votes for councillor.