The District of Metchosin has thrown its support behind a resolution that would change the number of years a council could be elected for.
During a meeting earlier this week, mayor and councillors voted to support a draft resolution to reinstate a three-year term for municipal office, which will be sent later this year to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC), an area association under the umbrella of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).
Coun. Moralea Milne, who requested council’s support, said the current four-term term is too long and is a big commitment for anyone running for office, particularly in the smaller communities such as Metchosin. Not only are there council meetings, but councillors are also responsible for serving on numerous committee, which can turn into what feels like a full-time job to some.
“It stops people from running … There’s really a lot that can be asked of you,” said Milne, who has been in office for three terms and enjoys the work, but will not be running for re-election this year.
“If you have a particularly dysfunction council or one that is at odds with the community, four years is a long time to wait for a change. There are not that many mechanisms to change a council or a council member.”
Milne believes a three-year term would be more beneficial in the long run as it would encourage more young people to run and would hold councils accountable to residents.
Mayor John Ranns agreed, adding a three-year term is a much more manageable time frame.
“Three years is a good time frame towards achieving a mandate and renewing a mandate. When you run for office, you get up on the podium and tell people this is the direction I think you people want us to take and if you get elected, they’ve [residents] given you a mandate or approval of what your vision is,” he said.
“[A three year term] gives you the time to be able to establish what it is that the public wanted, to establish that vision, but also gives the public the opportunity to say ‘well you’re not doing it the way we wanted’.”
Changing the number of years councils are elected for is a topic that’s been debated in recent years. In 2013, a UBCM motion increased the municipal term from three years to four.
The resolution will be sent to AVICC in April. If it passes, the resolution will then be sent to UBCM in September for approval.