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Stick to it

Marisca advises prospective council members that civic service is a big commitment

When I was younger, about five or six, I wanted to play baseball so badly that my parents signed me up for the season. Partway through, I decided I didn’t like it anymore and wanted to quit. My parents didn’t let me.

They told me that I didn’t have to sign up for it again next year but I had made a commitment and had to follow through. I ended up finishing the season with my team.

They were counting on me and it wasn’t fair to let them down. (I mean, probably not because I was terrible, but sometimes you need certain numbers to play.)

I learned a lesson that summer that has remained with me since then.

If you say you are going to do something, you should do it. If you commit to something, you should follow through.

As nominations open up for the upcoming municipal elections, I hope those considering running, will think about the commitment.

Elections are held every four years. Running for town council, regional district or the school board is a four-year commitment.

Since the last election, Telkwa council has seen quite the turnover.

In the last term, they have held two by-elections, lost their mayor and currently has one councillor who is hanging by a thread.

There have been meetings that had to be cancelled at the last minute due to lack of quorum. members of the public showed up, the building was opened up by staff, a certain member of the media had secured a babysitter so she could report on the meeting, only for it not to happen. That’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Sometimes not having a meeting would delay projects the village was working on.

Also, a by-election costs the village thousands of dollars. The first by-election in the last term, Derek Meerdink was acclaimed because no one ran against him. That by-election was held after Matthew Monkman stepped down after getting a new job.

The 2019 byelection had an unofficial budget of $7,000, former Director of Finance Stacey Price said at the time. Because of the acclamation, Telkwa saved approximately $4,000 after all the legal expenses and advertising was paid. For reference, the 2018 election cost Telkwa $8,225.

However, there was an actual by-election when Dave Livesey won in February of 2021.

That by-election was necessary to replace Coun. Rick Fuerst who resigned in September 2020 citing work conflicts.

The time, cost and interruptions to the village’s work to hold by-elections take their toll. Telkwa doesn’t have a huge tax base. That money could have been better spent.

I know things come up, health concerns happen, new jobs arise, life changes, but being ready to commit to a four-year term is important for the whole community.

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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