Change is coming for Chilliwack city council

With two councillors running for mayor, and another not seeking re-election, what will council look like after the municipal election?

Little is absolute in politics.

But one thing is certain: Chilliwack’s city council will look mighty differently after the fall municipal election.

Last week a second city councillor announced his intention to run for mayor. Sam Waddington joins Ken Popove in the bid to fill the chair currently held by Sharon Gaetz.

Gaetz has yet to say if she’ll respond to the challenge and seek a fourth term.

But regardless, the decisions by Popove and Waddington will change the complexion of council. Coupled with the earlier announcement by Councillor Chuck Stam that he won’t seek re-election, there will be at least three new faces around the council table after Oct. 20.

Of the three remaining councillors, Sue Attrill, Jason Lum and Chris Kloot, only Attrill has said definitively that she will run again. (That Kloot and Lum will seek re-election seems likely, even if they haven’t officially announced their intentions.)

Although the election is months away, the palace intrigue has already begun.

There was Mayor Gaetz’s pointed criticism of Waddington’s expense bill two weeks ago, and news she had gone so far as to file a Freedom of Information request to secure the details.

Attrill, Lum and Kloot, meanwhile, made clear weeks ago – as they joined Popove as he announced his candidacy for mayor – who their pick is.

All this, of course, is good for democracy and good for Chilliwack. Municipal elections often draw the poorest voter turnout, despite being the most important to the electorate.

A well-challenged race, with plenty of new faces and new ideas, might generate the kind of buzz local elections deserve.

Chilliwack is changing rapidly. And with that change comes challenges and opportunities.

It’s important that all of us play a role in deciding who is best able to guide this community through the next four years.

The campaign is just beginning, and more candidates will be stepping forward.

So let’s pay attention.

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