Campbell River’s mayor by acclamation, Andy Adams, wonders if the four year terms for local government representatives in B.C. is behind a higher than usual number of mayoral candidates running unopposed and the low number of council candidates.
“I really wonder if the four-year term is a factor,” Adams said today from his home as he awaits to see who will sit with him on Campbell River’s city council.
Four year-terms were introduced for the 2014 municipal election.
Adams, the incumbent mayor of the city, gains another term by acclamation after no one chose to run against him. Nine candidates for councillor are vying for six seats today. There are four newcomers, although one candidate, Claire Moglove, sat on council previously.
Adams sees acclamation as a trend in the region because Tahsis and Zeballos also have mayors by acclamation.
Adams talked to Premier John Horgan and Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, about this at the fall Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention.
He added that the length of the term may also be discouraging the younger demographic, something he would like to see balance out on council. There is only one candidate for council who would be considered young, Daniel Franklin. The rest of the incumbents and new candidates are middle-aged or older.
All-in-all, the campaign has been different from what he expected. He had put a team and a plan together and was ready to ramp it up for the election but nobody else put their name forward to run for the mayor’s chair. So, Adams said it has been very relaxing to be mostly an observer, although he participated in all of the all-candidates forums and appearances while continuing to maintain his schedule of appearances at recent community events such as the Hospice Society breakfast and Discovery Community College’s grad.
“I’m looking forward to the results tonight,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having another strong team.”
He wants the next council to be, like the previous one, a team that has fun and works well together.
Adams believes the number one issue on voters’ minds is affordable housing, both here in Campbell River and around the province. He said the issue was a priority for the outgoing council and it will be a priority for the new one. The outgoing council has enacted measures to allow increased density as well as support social housing concepts like M’akola Housing Society’s purchase of the former Sandman Inn, the Head Injury Support Society’s Linda’s Place project and Habitat for Humanity’s duplex project on Hilchey
“We’ll continue to do that,” Adams said. “But the gap is supportive housing. That’s what we advocated for at UBCM.”
There have been some apartment projects come online recently and although those aren’t low-income housing, Adams believes they can have a domino effect and free up less-expensive housing.
The second important issue facing the city is taxes, Adams said.
“Taxation is always top-of-mind for people,” he said.
Council will continue to bring Campbell River’s taxes to the median level of like-sized communities while at the same time balancing that with upgrading infrastructure. The focus of infrastructure development will be to push for residential development and mixed-use downtown. The challenge will be to balance meeting residential need for commercial services nearby while maintaining a healthy downtown.
But it’s all going well, Adams said.
“I think we’re in great shape as far as infrastructure goes,” he said. “I think we’re in an enviable position.”
First order of business for the new council will be to complete the city’s financial plan before Christmas and well before the budget deadline. Then the new council will go into a planning process in the new year.
All that remains is to determine who will be sitting at the table with Adams. Watch this space and our Facebook page for news on that as it happens.