Sparwood mayor David Wilks will seek another term at the 2022 election. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Column: On the value of running for office

The 2022 municipal elections for British Columbia are a few months away.

Running for local government is not a decision to take lightly. Those considering putting their names forward should take the time to access the many available resources that will assist with learning about the role, and the impact elected officials have on their communities. It is important that candidates are aware of the differences between what they want vs. what to expect before making the decision to run. At times, a candidate will choose to put their name forward for one specific reason or, to try and complete one specific task they feel is important. While that objective may be their goal for the term or chosen platform for the election race, elected councillors will be called upon to vote on diverse issues. It is also critical to understand that the decisions council will make are not just for today, but for the future, and choices can impact generations to come.

A Council will make decisions on everything from strategic direction, policies, bylaws, budgets, and resource allocations, each requiring researched and informed decision making. While staff provide the council with reports, statistics and information, council members often engage with citizens to gain feedback and insight on how the decisions will impact community members, groups, and businesses. As an elected official, residents will reach out to you for information and a listening ear. It is important to be able to take the time to hear different opinions, thoughts and feedback and ensure that all perspectives are considered.

As mayor, I see tremendous value in diversity around the council table. I am hopeful that there will be many candidates of various ages and backgrounds putting their names forward this fall. Each member of the Council team is an important piece of the puzzle and brings a unique perspective and skillset to the team. It is because of the differences of each member that the best decisions are made. It is through discussion and respectful communication of differing opinions that allow for a broad range of ideas and considerations to be brought forward and deliberated. Ultimately, each member of the council has one vote, including the Mayor, and whatever the outcome, the decision becomes the council’s decision as a whole.

Over the spring and summer, I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in running for local government to visit your city’s website where the municipality may be posting information, resources and opportunities to learn more about the election. In addition, there may also be an in-house information night later in the year where residents may come ask questions and learn more about local government.

Although being elected to council is a big responsibility, it is very rewarding. Knowing that you can shape decisions that support guiding your community toward a very bright future, makes all the effort worthwhile.

-David Wilks, Mayor of Sparwood

municipal politics

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