Lumby steers clear of ‘divisive’ debate

Lumby politicians unwilling to join lobby for change so residents living outside municipality cannot run for office

Lumby politicians are unwilling to throw salt on open wounds.

Council decided Monday not to lobby for provincial legislation changes so a candidate running for municipal council must live in the jurisdiction.

“It’s a divisive issue when the people of Lumby and Area D have a lot of healing to do,” said Coun. Nick Hodge referring to the recent dispute over a prison.

Coun. Lori Mindnich says residents are split on the election rules and that isn’t good for the community.

“It’s the wrong time. We want things to heal,” she said.

Presently, provincial legislation allows someone who lives outside of a jurisdiction to run for a council seat.

Some Lumby residents have suggested the rule should change because those who live outside the municipal boundaries don’t pay taxes directly to the village and are not bound by bylaws.

However, some residents in the adjacent electoral area have stated that while they don’t live in Lumby proper, they are part of the broader community and what council does impacts them.

Janet Green, a former councillor, urged current council to lobby for changes but she accepts Monday’s decision.

“The timing was bad and I agree with that,” she said, adding that the controversy over her proposal was unfortunate.

“The goal wasn’t to stir things up but it was seen in a different light. It had nothing to do with the prison issue.”

B.C. is apparently the only Canadian province that allows non-residents to run for council in municipalities and Green expects the issue will surface again.

“It’s something B.C. will eventually have to address,” she said.