Politics can be a very demanding job. In municipal politics, elected officials are the closest you can be to the people that elected you. Currently taking on an elected position in a municipality is a four-year term. It seems long, and personally I think it is. Not only is it long, but it is a huge commitment. Couple that with the fact few people know where they are going to be at in their life four years from now, and you quickly realize that things can change.
On January 10, 2017, Councillor Diane Smith formally resigned from Town Council. Diane took on a new and exciting position with West Fraser a few months ago and it too requires a lot of her time. One of the greatest things we learnt about Councillor Smith in the three plus years she was with us, was that there is no half way.
Diane has always put her heart and soul into everything she does. Councillor Smith was very involved in Council, always came prepared, did her research and listened to what people said.
She believed in fiscal restraint but saw vision in doing things differently than how we had always done them. Diane will be sadly missed by this council and I wanted to take the time to thank her for her dedication to this position. Council wishes her the best of luck in her professional life and we all can understand how excited her family is going to be having her around a lot more often.
Council debated whether we should have a by-election or not, to fill that position left by Diane’s departure. Legally if the vacancy happens less than 18 months before an election and you have 6 members of council, you don’t need to have one.
By-elections cost money, take time and energy, and the next general election is just over ten months away.
Slave Lake is not sleepy little town. Council has a number of initiatives we are working on. Our plate is full and we would welcome help to share that work load. It would also give whoever is elected possibly 8 months’ experience working with council and understanding the system before a general election is called.
New councilors can also bring new ideas, new energy and help us to make sure we are on the right track. As such Council voted unanimously to hold a by-election to fill the vacancy. Nomination day will be February 1, 2017 with the potential election taking place one month later on March 1, 2017.
Candidate nomination packages can be picked up in the Town Office starting Tuesday January 17th.
An election will only take place if we have more than one candidate running for the position.
It is council’s hope that we get some passionate people who want to make a difference in this community and see council as one avenue to do that. We are hoping it is someone who understands the amount of work required and wants to help lead their community. On the other side of that, by-elections for a short term can be less exciting than a full election. It’s a busy time a year and people can forget the necessity to vote. We are hoping you take a moment to budget a few minutes on March 1, 2017 to come out and help select a great candidate for this council to work with.
As you can see this is all happening quite quickly. If the timing doesn’t work out for people, hopefully this will spark a desire in some people to run in the election in the fall. Slave Lake is a great community, and is one amazing place to live. It takes a tonne of hard work to keep it that way and we hope there is someone out there who feels they are up to the task.
Good luck to all who throw their hat in the ring!