OPINION: This municipal election too important to sit out

Change is coming to Chilliwack; this is our time to define that future

Perhaps it’s not surprising that one of the most important elections in this city’s history has also become one of its most divisive.

On both the school board and city council, change is coming.

It is now up to us to determine that direction.

On council, there will be at least three new faces at the end of day on Saturday. With the retirement of Chuck Stam, and the decisions by Ken Popove and Sam Waddington to run for mayor, at least half the council seats are up for grabs. The three remaining incumbents are facing challenges from a deep and talented field of 11 individuals.

What’s at stake is important.

It’s no exaggeration to say Chilliwack stands at the cusp of an exciting future. The redevelopment of the downtown, the addition of Molson Coors to the city’s economic base, the continued potential of Canada Education Park, and the final commitment of support from other levels of government to address the city’s pressing social concerns all draft a portrait of opportunity.

But challenges remain. And having a team in place with the skills necessary to meet those challenges is why this election is so important.

Success also takes leadership – leadership that can be trusted; leadership that can marshal the support of others around the table. True, the mayor is only one voice at that table. However, the candidate we choose to fill that chair will set the tone for the next four years. It’s a choice that should not be taken lightly.

Change is also coming to the Chilliwack school board. Of the seven board seats, three are empty. The four incumbents face challenges from 14 candidates.

The board we pick will also face an eventful four years. New school construction is just one of the urgent needs of a growing community that is attracting a younger demographic. Our ability to lobby the provincial government effectively will be critical to getting those schools built. We also need to ensure we can attract and retain staff necessary to fill those new schools, in addition to the ones we already have. We want our schools safe and welcoming to all students, their parents, and district staff. We want the new curriculum rolled out smoothly, with adequate resources in place. And we want a board that is effective, collaborative and communicative in the role it was elected to serve.

We have the opportunity to shape the next four years in Chilliwack. Some have already taken that opportunity at advanced polling stations this week and last.

Saturday is the chance for the rest of us.

Do your research.

Take your time.

But vote for the kind of community you want to live in.

It’s important.

Greg Knill is editor of the Chilliwack Progress

Just Posted

BREAKING: ERT arrest wanted prolific offender in Chilliwack apartment raid

David Allen Geoghegan has a history of breaching conditions and warrants issued for his arrest

RCMP are looking for anyone who saw collision late Monday at First and Cheam

A woman suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries in motor vehicle incident

Vent du Nord comes to Harrison for Season of Performing Arts

The francophone folk group will be performing Nov. 30

LETTER: Chilliwack should be ashamed

Everyone needs to come together to solve city’s problems, says letter writer

Chilliwack cancer survivor, speaker, published in popular Chicken Soup series

Glenda Standeven doesn’t let being an amputee bring her down

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Trudeau appears open to safer-opioid proposal in Vancouver: mayor

The city has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read