Nominations for each municipality across the province have opened today in accordance with the province’s Local Government Act, including Fort St. John, Taylor, Dawson Creek and the Peace River Regional District.
The opportunity to apply for a seat in council began today at 9:00 a.m. and runs until October 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Chief Election Officer for the City of Fort St. John, Janet Prestley says the 429 page nomination package is available online as well as inside City Hall.
“That’s just reading material as well as the actual paper work you need to submit; not to scare anybody,” Prestley comically explained.
Nomination information is also available online for Taylor and Dawson Creek; however, if you’re looking to run in any of the electoral areas of the Peace River Regional District, you’ll have to go into one of their offices in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek or Chetwynd.
Here in Fort St. John, Official polling is November 15, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. inside the Pomeroy Sports Centre. However, Prestley also says there will be 2 advanced polls on November 5 and 12, running during the same time and inside the same venue as the official voting date.
“Say you might be going to camp on the 15th, come in on the 12th or the 5th and you can vote in advanced,” Prestley said.
The same dates apply to each municipality, as it again falls under the province’s Local Government Act.
Since the time of publication, Prestley says they’ve yet to receive a single nomination package, but that’s expected to change fairly soon.
“They’ll come in 3:30 the last day and go ‘here’s my stuff’,” Prestley goes on to say about the ‘surprise nominations.’ “I guess it gives them time to really contemplate ‘is this really what I want to do?’
Some common misconceptions Prestley pointed to when discussing roles and responsibilities is the perception that one can only run in their riding, which is not true (i.e. if you live in Charlie Lake, you can run for a seat in Fort St. John and vice-versa), as well as the perception of time commitment.
“They might think ‘well it’s going to be eight hours every month because of council meetings’, whereas that’s not the case,” Prestley explained. “There’s a lot of additional meeting they have to go to; we send them to conferences and training opportunities. Even reading an agenda, depending on how big the agenda is, it can take hours.”
Some off-the-top qualifications required to run include being at least 18 years or older in age, holding Canadian citizenship, and living in B.C. for at least six months.
If you’re interested in running, don’t forget about ‘Candidate 101’ being held in Council Chambers tonight starting at 7:00 p.m.; an opportunity to ask questions and learn more while participating in a workshop.