Local governance 101

Publisher’s Note

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 18 months since Sun Peaks Resort became the first Mountain Resort Municipality (MRM) in B.C. While there are a total of 13 resort municipalities in the province, Sun Peaks’ designation as an MRM allows for special features such as an appointed councillor, additional hotel tax rebates, and other grant/funding streams that many other municipalities don’t have. Although there’s been considerable debate on both the supporting and opposing sides of this new municipality, the reality is, it’s now legislated and written in law that the people of Sun Peaks, B.C. can collect their own property taxes and govern their own destiny from within.

As a long-time local and publisher of the local newspaper, I tend to hear a lot of scuttlebutt about how council should be or shouldn’t be doing this or that, and what they’re doing is good, bad or indifferent to the needs of this community. The funny side of it is that many people, regardless of their feelings toward the new municipality, or Sun Peaks as a whole, have no real clue what they are talking about or what they are really for or against, because they don’t understand local governance or read the bylaws or meeting minutes in the first place! The term “knowledge is king” comes to mind whenever I hear someone complaining about something in this community they really know nothing about.

Democracy is a wonderful thing and it shows in no uncertain terms what the true will of the community is. People running for municipal office are either elected by their peers to represent their community or they’re not, Palin and simple. Pun intended. Local governance is just as it sounds—a town, hamlet or small village governed by elected citizens of that community for the betterment of that community.
It takes a huge amount of personal time and effort to represent your community on council and it’s the people with a willingness to make a positive difference that tend to succeed in these positions, because we all know they don’t do it for the money.

If political change is what the people of Sun Peaks wish for, and this I truly question, then people should not only educate themselves in the governance of Sun Peaks, they should also step up and run for the position of mayor or councillor in the Nov. 19 election.

In closing, I’d like to truly thank our current mayor, council and staff for their baby steps, take our time, let’s do this right the first time, fiscally responsible approach to the governance of Sun Peaks over the last 18 months. To all those that think you can do a better job, you have until 4 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2011 to put in your nomination papers. Good luck to all on Election Day.

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