Did the change in term length from three years to four for civic officials affect the number of candidates willing to commit themselves to public office in West Kootenay/Boundary?
The short answer is not really. Although more candidates are seeking positions on municipal councils and fewer on regional districts and school boards compared to 2011, the overall numbers are quite close, showing an increase of about 3.6 per cent.
In 2011, 223 candidates ran for the 136 available positions as mayors, councillors, directors, and school trustees in West Kootenay/Boundary’s 16 municipalities, two regional districts, and four school districts.
This time, 231 candidates are seeking those same positions, which break down as follows: 38 for mayor (versus 30 in 2011), 127 for councillor (compared to 114 three years ago), 26 for regional director (32 last time), and 40 for school trustee (down from 47).
Grand Forks produced the greatest number of candidates in both 2011 and 2014: three years ago three people ran for mayor and 12 for council; this time there are five for mayor and 16 for council. Additionally, four people are running for two school trustee positions, and three are running for regional director of rural Grand Forks.
The greatest increase in candidates was in Salmo, where in 2011 the mayor and council were elected by acclamation. This time there are three candidates for mayor and 12 for council, representing a net gain of 10 candidates.
The quietest race this time was in New Denver, where the entire council was elected unopposed, representing a decrease of three candidates from 2011. Midway experienced a similar drop, although it will still have a vote for council.
On the regional district side, 17 candidates are running in Central Kootenay compared to 21 in 2011, and nine in Kootenay Boundary, versus 11 three years ago.
The number of school trustee candidates was virtually unchanged in three of four districts. The exception is Kootenay Lake, where there are five fewer this time.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser