An important vote to cast

This next election could be one of the most important in the history of the North Coast.

We are only in the early stages of municipal campaign season, but this next election could be one of the most important in the history of the North Coast.

Unlike years gone by, there appears to be a wide divide being created by the industrial suitors looking at developing our shores.

For some, the idea of liquefied natural gas development on Lelu Island and Ridley Island is the catalyst to pick up the megaphone, take to the airwaves and decry the potential environmental impacts such development could bring to the region. In short, it’s a cause for concern.

For others, the idea of liquefied natural gas brings about visions of a strong economy with high paying jobs for the young people of the region, a stronger municipal tax base and more infrastructure. In short, it’s a cause for celebration.

City council may not have final say over what develops on Crown land, but the welcome business leaders receive when they touch down in Prince Rupert or Port Edward, and the bylaws they have to adhere to, will certainly play into their decisions.

Make no mistake about it, the development of industry-related infrastructure will probably be the biggest issue of this coming campaign. When you couple the potential benefits with failing infrastructure and the potential risks with quality of life concerns, there can be no bigger decision ahead for the incoming council.

Making the decision the electorate makes on Nov. 15 even that more critical is the fact that, for the first time, municipal leaders will serve four year terms instead of three. So if you don’t get the council or mayor you don’t like, you’re stuck with them for an extra year.

Whatever your position is on industrial development on the North Coast, make sure you do everything you can to become informed about the candidates and their positions — not just on industry but on every facet of the life you love.

An informed vote is something you owe not only to yourself, but to future generations of the North Coast.