RVC already gearing up for upcoming election
Monday, Feb 13, 2017 02:58 pm
Although no candidates are registered yet for the upcoming municipal election in October, Rocky View County (RVC) is already planning for a busy season. Residents who are considering running for a position on council have until nomination day on Sept. 18 to submit their official registration, but Reeve Greg Boehlke said it’s important to start thinking about the campaign already.
“Usually, prospective councillors have some community involvement in their background,” Boehlke said. “We’re all taxpayers, we’re all members of the community that we represent, but being a councillor means you need to have an open mind and be empathetic to the needs and desires of others.”
However, he said potential candidates need to remember that in a municipality this diverse, it will be “impossible” to please everybody. Flexibility, Boehlke said, is an important thing for councillors to learn.
“Even though you have a sort of general idea that you’d like the community to do well overall, that focus has a number of very different viewpoints – and not all of those are right, and not all of those are wrong,” he said. “But you can’t be singularly-minded on one issue and expect to be successful over a four-year term.”
With the county seemingly divided into several camps of vocal residents and landowners, Boehlke said this year’s election will likely bring forward some issues surrounding the county’s future direction. But he said both residents and potential candidates need to take time to thoroughly investigate each issue.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how accurate some of the statements being made are,” he said. “People should really pay attention and make sure the questions they ask are answered accurately and can be backed up by facts.”
One of the major issues Boehlke said should influence the direction of the municipal election is the candidates’ attitudes toward the new, provincially-mandated Growth Management Boards. The county’s future council, will need to be able to keep the municipalty’s best interests in mind, while maintaining strong partnerships with the other participating municipalities, he said.
“Basically, with these boards, we might start to see people who are not paying taxes to RVC strongly influencing the decisions made by the board,” he said.
“Basically, non-elected people making decisions for us. To me, that’s the biggest issue we’ll be facing.”
What prospective councillors can look forward to, Boehlke said, is the pleasure of working closely with the diverse residents of RVC – which he said is the “nicest thing about the job.”
Since RVC is the seventh largest municipality in Alberta, Boehlke said the job of being a councillor offers a number of exciting challenges.
“The learning curve is huge, but it’s a very interesting job,” he said. “It’s good to be able to help people, to try to make our community a better place. You just take the wins when you can get them and learn from the losses so you can do better next time.”
Boehlke reiterated the importance of participating in municipal elections, even just as a voter.
“A lot of times it ends up being the loud, aggressive minority who gets out and votes – but we need to hear from the silent majority as well,” he said. “That’s how you can influence the direction of the governance of the county. Don’t be afraid to question the candidates and find out what they really think. We’re lucky to be able to vote, so people need to get out there and do it.”
Those intereested in running for council can find more information at rockyview.ca.