By Laura Keil
General elections are over across B.C. but in Valemount the election process isn’t finished yet. Two councillor positions are yet to be filled, and the Village of Valemount released more details Monday about how they would select two more people for the four-year term.
Mayor Owen Torgerson says Council has until Dec. 1st to choose two individuals to complete the 5-person Council, but hopes to finalize the positions by mid-November. He and Councillors Hollie Blanchette and Pete Pearson were acclaimed after being the only mayor and two councillors running. They will vote on the remaining two councillor seats from a pool of local candidates.
But after a low turn-out of candidates in the first place, how will they find two additional people?
The selection process drawn up by staff includes elements more common in a job interview than an election. Candidates will be interviewed by both the CAO and Council on why they wish to run and what they hope to achieve. In the application, the Village asks candidates to consider why they want to be an elected official, how the person will contribute to the community if elected, how they will work with colleagues even if they have different points of view among others.
Only people residing within Village limits are eligible to apply due to a stipulation in the Local Government Act around appointments (unlike in the general election when you merely have to be a BC resident for 6 months). Residents have until Nov. 7th to get their nomination papers in.
Mayor Torgerson encourages people who want to contribute to the sustainable growth of a village to bring their names forward. He says representing one’s community is one of the most rewarding privileges one can have.
“It is just an absolute privilege to be able to represent our residents and move our village forward into the future.”
For people concerned about criticism, he says you can’t please everyone, nor should you try.
“And hopefully the job that you’re doing doesn’t come with much criticism. You’re entrusted with making decisions that directly affect the daily lives of those around you.”
The Local Government Act (LGA) requires that Council make appointments to the vacant positions within 30 days of the Inaugural Meeting which occurs Nov. 1st.
“Should we fail to do so, it will require provincial intervention and the Minister of Municipal Affairs will do it for us, and this is something we certainly do not want to happen,” Torgerson says. “This role is not something we want someone in Victoria working off the corner of their desk, and it could potentially happen.”
Beginning Mon. Oct 17th, any Village resident may submit a nomination for themselves for the Office of Councillor using the nomination form. Candidates must be 18 years of age or older, reside in the municipality, be a Canadian citizen, have been a resident of British Columbia for six months immediately prior to being appointed, and not be legally disqualified from holding office.
Nominations will be accepted by email to [email protected], by delivery to the front desk during operating hours, and after hours by dropping the form through the mail slot at the Village of Valemount Office (located at the lower level of the building) and must be submitted before 4PM on Nov. 7th.
October 17, 2022
Start of nomination submission
November 7, 2022
4 PM deadline for nomination submission
Week of November 14 to 18, 2022
Council will vote on nominees to be appointed. Date and time will be posted using the usual meeting notice procedure.