Lake Cowichan councillors react to four-year terms

Councillors say the pending four-year terms for local elections will attract those who are most dedicated

Local elections will occur this fall and from November, those elected to councils and school boards in British Columbia will serve four-year terms instead of three.

The issue was voted on and passed last year by the Union of B.C. Municipalities in a move that will see the next local election, after this one, take place in 2018.

“I’m not surprised as it was discussed a lot at UBCM and I figured they would make a decision one way or the other.” said Mayor Ross Forrest. “Do I think it’s a good or bad thing, I have mixed feelings. It’s good for being able to see through projects. The only downfall is that possibly newly elected officials might not be sure what they’re getting into.”

Forrest is coming to the end of his second term as mayor of Lake Cowichan after first being elected back in 2008.

“At this point I do plan to run again but a lot can happen in the next six or seven months,” he said.

Councillor Bob Day will definitely be throwing his hat into the ring again, after recently outlining his ultimate vision of a community food forrest for Lake Cowichan and the surrounding areas.

“The people that have discussed it (the four-year terms) in the past have said it’s going to detract people from running, but I think it’s definitely going to flush out the people who really are dedicated to their communities and who are going to be there long term, and not just short term as a flash in the pan type of thing.”

Day is also serving his second term and has been with Forrest every step of the way.

“Things move so slow in government so it’ll give those people who are in a chance to see the plans come to fruition. So in that respect, it’s going to bring a lot of satisfaction for those who get into office.”

Day also quashed rumours that he will be running for the mayor’s position and will once again run as a councillor.

Like Day and Forrest, Coun. Jayne Ingram sees the four-year term as a great platform to see major projects through to the end.

“It gives a stronger length of time to see major projects through,” said Ingram. “However four years is a lot longer than three and therefore is a bigger commitment to somebody new coming into municipal politics, although I’m hoping that wouldn’t change anyone’s mind. To the one’s already strongly committed who have already been elected, it won’t make any difference.”

Ingram is unsure whether she will run for office again and is also coming to the end of her second three-year term in a row.

“I haven’t decided yet. It’s a few months from now (the election) and I’ll decide whether I want to run for another four years. It has crossed my mind but I haven’t given it total thought. I do have my family to consider.

“I’ve really enjoyed my tenure, it’s been lots of fun. We’ve made a lot of big changes that I really like.”