Tofino is preparing to hold a municipal byelection in March to elect a new mayor and two new councillors. (Westerly file photo)

Tofino is preparing to hold a municipal byelection in March to elect a new mayor and two new councillors. (Westerly file photo)

Tofino to ask for leeway in mail-in voting restrictions for March byelection

District wants to expand mail-in voting due to COVID-19.

MLA Josie Osborne’s first call as B.C.’s newly appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs might come from her own community.

Tofino is set to ask the province for some leeway around mail-in voting in the municipal byelection it needs to hold to replace its now former mayor.

Osborne took a leave of absence from the position when she was named the NDP’s candidate for the Mid Island – Pacific Rim riding and she officially resigned from the position after being elected to the provincial government on Oct. 24. She was named to the Municipal Affairs cabinet position on Nov. 26.

READ MORE: Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne named minister of municipal affairs

Tofino’s manager of corporate services Elyse Goatcher-Bergmann told the Westerly News that the district expects to hold the byelection in March and she has reached out to Ministry of Municipal Affairs to ask for an order that would allow Tofino to do “a few things that we wouldn’t normally be able to do.”

“That order is because of COVID-19 and some changes that we want to make to the election process to make things safe and really easy and accessible for people,” Goatcher-Bergmann said.

“Tofino recently amended our bylaw to allow mail-in ballots, but we’re still sort of hamstrung by the Local Government Act, which really limits who can vote by mail. Right now, it’s only those people who expect to be outside the municipality on general voting day or someone who has an illness or disability that prevents them coming to the voting place. So, it’s a pretty specific group of people that can vote by mail as the legislation stands, but of course now we’re in a global pandemic so we want to expand that eligibility to anyone who wants to vote by mail.”

She added that the town’s bylaw stipulates that mail-in ballots must be received two days prior to voting day, but the district is hoping to change that as well.

“We’re going to ask that they’re submitted by general voting day, but that’s something we have to ask the ministry about as well because our bylaw actually says they have to be submitted two days prior to voting day, but we want to make it really simple for folks,” she said.

The byelection will also include two councillor positions as councillors Dan Law and Andrea McQuade have both confirmed they will be running for mayor and both must resign their current seat in order to pursue the mayor’s spot.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

byelectionCoronavirusmunicipal politicsTofino,

Just Posted

Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)
Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Kathleen Gilbert said without full funding, region will not be able to attract productions

A senior official with Victoria International Airport says the airport is still researching COVID-19 testing regimes but predicts testing and screening will remain part of the aviation industry even after vaccines have rolled out. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria International Airport researching COVID-19 testing options

Senior official predicts ‘screening and testing will be around long after the vaccination rollout’

Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future. Black Press file photo.
Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future

The last year was a wake up call. The environmental crisis, systemic… Continue reading

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it”

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Drisht Preet (DP) Singh was excited to be opening the first Canco Supermarket in Saltair. (Photo by Emily Weeks)
Canco’s first supermarket opens in Saltair

Reasonable prices being matched with exceptional customer service

From left to right: Geena Haiyupis, Deborah Potter and Moira Barney stand beside the canoe. It will be painted by ADSS students in the new year. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Alberni high school students paddling forward together

Canoe artwork will hang above the school’s breakfast room

Cowichan Bay tennis player Grace Haugen takes part in an exhibition at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club in 2019, which also included Canadian legends Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor. Haugen has committed to further her career at the University of Montana starting next fall. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island tennis player prepares for next step in her journey

Cowichan Bay’s Grace Haugen commits to University of Montana

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Most Read