EDITORIAL: Help shape Sooke’s future

EDITORIAL: Help shape Sooke’s future

This Saturday’s byelection important for many reasons

Last year, a little more than 40 percent of eligible voters in the District of Sooke mustered up enough interest to cast a ballot in the municipal election.

And if past municipal byelections are any predictor, our upcoming byelection will be decided by a dismal 10 to 20 per cent of the electorate.

That level of apathy, of course, isn’t unique to Sooke.

Municipal byelections rarely inspire voters and that trend is all a bit befuddling.

District councils, after all, have the most direct impact on the lives of the average person. They will decide upon basic service levels in the community and set the municipal tax rates to pay for those services.

On a broader scale, they’ll be the ones charting the future of the community.

Given that, it’s puzzling that four out of five voters will decline to take advantage of their democratic prerogative.

Perhaps, like Samuel Clemens, they believe that “if elections really mattered, they wouldn’t let us vote.” It is a byelection, after all, and some may argue that an individual councillor will have little power to change the council’s existing dynamic.

But cynicism, while it makes for what some may view as clever coffee shop talk or social media posts, is just an excuse for doing nothing.

The truth is that the eight active candidates for council’s vacant seat have very different viewpoints on what path Sooke should take into the future.

On the issue of growth, for example, we have a candidate that advocates ever more development and growth. It’s time to disrupt the status quo in council chambers, he says, and bring some level headed common sense to civic affairs.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have candidates who see the ocean and natural beauty of Sooke as vital and say growth needs to slow.

We have candidates who advocate a more vibrant downtown, without providing any specifics of how that might be achieved or how they might be able to sway the rest of council to share their vision.

In short, the candidates are not the same, and their election could have a profound effect on the community.

And while it’s hard work to actually research the platforms of council candidates and vote accordingly, we believe that it’s worth the effort.

And for those who don’t vote, perhaps they should eschew any social media sniping of council for the remainder of the term.


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