Smithers Interior News Editorial

Smithers Interior News Editorial

Get involved

With a new cycle of town council activity, comes an opportunity for public engagement

With a new year, comes a new cycle of town council activity.

Soon, the mayor and six councillors will be heavily engaged in budget deliberations. These will be guided by the Town’s 2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan.

The plan identifies six broad priority categories: the economy, community livability, environmental responsibility, Wet’suwet’en relations, asset management and organizational effectiveness.

Under these categories are 14 strategic priorities.

A lot of work, both by council and Town staff, has gone into developing this plan. A lot more work is ahead to flesh out the details and implement it.

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They should not be doing it in a vacuum. Government in a democracy is not the council and bureaucracy, it is the people.

A lot of decisions are going to be made over the next few months and our elected and hired officials need to know what the people want.

We all have a responsibility to be engaged in the shaping of public policy, but frankly, we, the people, do an abysmal job at that.

From the ridiculously low voter turnout for municipal elections to the utter lack of participation in council meetings, public hearings and other opportunities for involvement.

And there are many, many opportunities for involvement.


Agendas for council and committees are published well in advance of meetings, which are always open to the public. Any decision of any consequence is always open to public input. Email makes it easier than ever to write to council.

The mayor and councillors are actually very good about being available for phone calls or in-person interactions.

Unlike higher levels of government, very few of the people who put themselves out there for municipal service are career politicians. They are usually people who just want to make the community better.

That is not to say they should not be subject to scrutiny and criticism.

And The Interior News does not ascribe to the concept that if you don’t vote, or don’t engage, you have no right to complain.

Of course, everybody has the right to complain all they want no matter how ill-informed, but a better approach is to be informed and actually get involved.

We encourage all residents to do just that.

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