Pursuant to the Local Government Act, general voting day is always the third Saturday in November. This year, general voting day falls on November 15, 2014. That means there is less than 20 weeks of time left for those interested in being elected to get their intentions known to the public.
In some cases elected officials around the province have already announced their intentions to run or bow out. There is much discussion around the new four year term being a real challenge, the new election rules around financing, and what individual platforms should be.
After every election the successful candidates are referred to as the new council even if they are all the same people. There is a requirement that all newly elected council members attend an orientation session so that they can be shown what their roles are, as well as what they can do and what they must not do as an elected official.
This should be just the start of a series of training sessions, but in actual fact the first orientation session is the last training session for some folks. I am not sure why this is, but it happens.
Perhaps some politicians feel they don’t need any sort of continuing education. As a voter, I always check the candidates to see if the incumbents have actually tried to stay abreast of recent changes through the offered continuing education courses. In my mind, elected officials need knowledge and training for the task. It is all well and good to be a popular figure in your community, but when asked to vote on issues around finances, public safety and other serious matters I want to know the people representing me really know what they are doing.
It may be interesting to take a quick look back at the last two-and-a-half years to see what Barriere council has been up to. It may give some insight to those still undecided around putting their names forth in the election, around what has been and can be accomplished.
Bear in mind here that the actual work to get any projects completed is done by staff. The council provides direction as to the policies and procedures that allow projects to happen.
There were a number of projects that needed completion. The work on the Community Ball Park concession and the bandshell were two such projects. The bandshell in particular was a challenge to the new council because funding had run out prior to the building and surrounding area being finished.
Staff managed to get some additional grant monies, which allowed for the completion of the driveway and pedestrian ramps. The washrooms were insulated and heated so that they could be used all year, and the outside lighting was replaced with proper vandal resistant fixtures.
Through the generous efforts of the local Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, staff paving stones were laid at the front of the stage. This was a tremendous amount of work, and the labour cost savings allowed other work to be done. I have said it before, and I will say it again, thanks people for your time and efforts to make our community better.
The new council saw the start of Communities in Bloom here in Barriere in 2012. The first year the committee managed to receive three blooms. In 2013 this increased to four blooms as well as a trophy for tidiness. I suspect the 2014 committee will continue to improve our community’s success in this worthwhile organization.
For years there had been efforts to establish a bike park in Barriere. A few dedicated individuals had created a park on land owned by AG Foods. Council facilitated a proper lease with the land owners, covered the liability insurance and provided some funding to the project. A great start to what could become a good facility for the local biking community.
These are just some of the efforts of council over the past few years. There are certainly many more that I will go over in the future. I just wanted to let those of you thinking of running for office know that the role of council is not all serious business. Fun projects happen too.