Now that we’ve passed the cut-off date to run for the upcoming municipal election, and have 25 candidates seeking spots on council, it’s more important than ever for voters to be educated on who is running and to be aware of their policies.
We’ve seen debates on a number of issues from the current council, many of which will continue — development, noise, pools, parking and sports facilities are some we could expect to hear about during the election campaign and the next term of council.
From the number of people running, it is clear a lot of people have different views about the way the Town has been run in the last four years.
And then there’s proposed development at Randwood, a hot-button issue that’s been campaigned on and instigated protest from a large chunk of residents who are afraid it will destroy the heritage value of the estate property, therefore taking an overall chip out of the town’s history.
Regardless of your opinions about the hotel at Randwood, the picture is bigger than that.
The fear we should have is people may be running for council with the idea of influencing one issue they’re passionate about, when there are so many other issues that have a direct impact on the lives of residents.
Politics should not be something people get into lightly, and my hope is that the candidates running all intend to carry their passion beyond specific issues and focus on an all-encompassing plan to ensure this town is allowed to grow, and does so while preserving the values of its residents, a diverse bunch who tend to have one thing in common — they love NOTL.
I’m urging residents to do their research, talk to their local candidates and find out what their plans are and what experience they bring to the table.
At the same time, I’m urging candidates who may have gotten into the race because they feel strongly about one certain issue to consider this:
Are you prepared for four years of council meetings about diverse issues and the public attention that brings? And are you OK with not always getting what you want?
Council isn’t necessarily a team effort — that’s the point of diverse representation — but you have to be able to work with people who don’t always see things your way.
I urge local political groups on social media, and those who may be campaigning in the shadows for a new council to consider what the consequences of losing that diversity could be.
Can we afford four years of a council that coordinates their decisions in private before the public meetings even happen?
If we have a team come in and clear council, this is not a farfetched scenario.
After all, the line between democracy and control is fairly thin.
Lastly, as a long time local — one who does not believe the mere fact I’ve lived here grants me some privilege above those who have moved in recently — it is important in this election to consider the benefit of diversity, and to have a mix of new and veteran politicians representing our town as it grows and changes.
Investigate, research and pick up the phone.