Lakers vie for attention in Chilliwack byelection

Byelection candidates in Chilliwack asked to help Cultus Lake residents fix the "dysfunction" by updating Cultus Lake Park Act.

Chilliwack byelection candidates will be asked to help Cultus Lake residents alleviate “dysfunction” and update the Cultus Lake Park Act to reflect the realities of 2012.

Cultus Lake resident Gary Lister and his wife, Sue, are collecting signatures for a petition to present Chilliwack-Hope byelection candidates, who will be vying for the MLA seat vacated recently by Barry Penner.

They were knocking on doors both days over the weekend and have already amassed more than 100 signatures.

“Most people at the lake don’t understand why the majority of commissioners are elected from Chilliwack,” he said. “They don’t think it’s fair.”

Almost everyone they approached wanted to sign, except for a renter who would soon be moving, said Sue Lister.

“I think if more people were aware of the situation, they would want things changed,” she said.

Their petition seeks to correct the “undemocratic” election rules imposed on Lakers whereby the majority of the Cultus Lake Park Board commissioners, five of them, are elected by Chilliwack residents, while only two are elected by Cultus Lake residents.

“The Board needs to be elected by the people they govern like every other local government in British Columbia,” writes Gary Lister in the preamble, calling it a “fundamental principle of our democracy.”

For Chilliwack residents, he described it as tantamount to having the majority of their city councillors as residents of Abbotsford, getting elected in Abbotsford by Abbotsford residents, but sitting on the Chilliwack council.

“This would mean the Chilliwack residents could not vote the Abbotsford (reps) out of office for their bad decisions because they do not live and vote in Abbotsford.

“I’m sure the citizens of Chilliwack would not tolerate a government election process like this if it happened to them.”

He wants to see elected officials on the board more accountable to Park residents in particular.

“What has and is happening at Cultus Lake has been going on for far too long and it has to change,” he said.

“A solution to the problem would be for the Provincial Government to amend the antiquated Cultus Lake Park Act, which has been done seven times in the past, allowing the people at Cultus Lake Park to govern themselves and have an election system that follows the B.C. Local Government Act.”

Once the writ is dropped for the Chilliwack byelection, the Listers will present the petition to candidates.

To sign the petition online, go to ipetitions.com/petition/cultuslake

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

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