Fresh faces good, voter turnout disappointing

The votes have been tallied and there are plenty of new faces in local government in the Cowichan Valley. While most people probably didn’t see everyone they voted for win a seat, most also probably saw at least a few of their preferred candidates for municipal government and school board make it into office.

We think there’s every reason for optimism for the next four years.

It’s really encouraging to see plenty of new young faces, from Rob Douglas and Maeve Maguire in the Municipality of North Cowichan, to Matteus Clement in Area C of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and Kerry Davis in Area A. On the CVRD new blood also comes in the form of Alison Nicholson for Area E and Sonia Fursentau for Shawnigan Lake.

Joyce Behnson adds her voice to North Cowichan, and Roger Bruce and John Horgan take seats in the City of Duncan alongside incumbent councillors.

We hope the new faces and new perspectives will bring new ideas and a fresh outlook with them.

We hope to see optimism, a willingness to work together, and good debate – though we’d like to see somewhat less of the kind of acrimonious confrontation that left a blemish on the last term.

But we’ve got a bone to pick with the public.

Where were you all on election day? What could possibly have been more important than helping your community decide its future? You couldn’t have taken a few minutes out to vote? Because that’s all it took.

And yet, an appallingly small number of people cast their ballots.

In North Cowichan, of 23,598 eligible voters, only 7,779 bothered. That’s a paltry 33 per cent. In Lake Cowichan the numbers were better with 1,100 of 2,206 voters casting ballots for almost 50 per cent.

But how sad is it when the best turnout is a little under half?

The City of Duncan had even more disappointing numbers, with 1,144 of 3,641 people voting, amounting to just 31.4 per cent.

Eighty-seven people took the time and made the effort to run for office this year – a huge number. Yet the voters continue not to do their part. We’ve got to do better, for the future of us all.

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