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North Okanagan communities hosting pre-election workshop

Free event designed to help residents considering running for a spot on council or for mayor
Several North Okanagan municipalities are teaming up to host a pre-municipal election workshop for citizens interested in running for mayor or council in the fall vote. (Black Press file photo)

Always wanted to be involved in municipal politics, have you?

Well then, the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, City of Enderby, Village of Lumby, and the Township of Spallumcheen have something for you.

Residents with an eye on running in the Oct. 15 municipal elections are invited to a candidate readiness workshop for upcoming local government elections.

The free workshop takes place Wednesday, Aug. 17, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Gym at the Vernon Recreation Centre.

“Local government is the most exciting level of government as it is the closest level to the people,” said the City of Vernon in a release. “It is designed to be a representative of your greater community where you get to be involved in making decisions that respond to local needs.

“Your community’s mayor and council is made up of your neighbours, your friends, your fellow citizens. They are not professional politicians; they are people who work in your community, care about your community and want to make a difference in your community. Yes, sometimes they must make very challenging decisions around how we want our communities to be managed. Ideas differ, and priorities are not always shared, but this is a good thing.

“It means our communities get robust and respectfully community-minded representation. We want to elect people who care. People like you.”

Knowing how to govern is slightly more complicated than just having an opinion.

Policy governance takes both understanding and practiced skills. The most effective elected officials are the ones who understand how governance structures work, and are dedicated to creating a fair and balanced government that supports the community’s goals and plans for the future.

Change comes through knowledge, implementation, and working together.

“With local government elections this fall, we have an opportunity for the community to give serious consideration to who is going to be representing them over the next term,” said the City of Vernon. “This matters because local government has the greatest impact on your day-to-day life.”

Local government owns and operates infrastructure that provides the foundation for the health, well-being, and economic prosperity of communities across the country.

Dependable core services, such as water, sewer, transportation networks, fire halls, recreation amenities, and more, make up the physical environment of a community and exist to provide these basic necessities of life that residents rely on every day.

As a result, leadership practices that promote long term sustainability for future generations are critical.

Excellence in local government demands both knowledgeable candidates and an engaged, proactive citizenry.

“Whether you are thinking of running for office or you care about electing the best candidates that will be shaping the future of your community, this workshop is for you,” said the release.

Topics to be covered include:

• What are the roles and responsibilities of local government and its elected officials?

• How do we attract and elect the best people for the job?

• What are some attributes that are vital in a local leader?

• What do I need to take into consideration before putting my name forward?

Meanwhile, in Vernon, nomination packages for potential mayor and council candidates are available for pick-up at city hall and on the city’s website at

To be eligible to run as a candidate, at the time of nomination a person must meet the following criteria:

• 18 years of age or older on the day of voting;

• a Canadian citizen;

• a resident of British Columbia for at least six months prior to voting day;

• not disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment, or by law from voting in a local election.

Nomination period begins Aug. 30, and ends Sept. 9. Campaign period starts Sept. 17 and finishes Oct. 15.

Advance voting in Vernon will take place Oct. 5 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Schubert Centre; and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 12 and 13 at Vernon council chambers.

Voting on Election Day, Oct. 15, in Vernon, goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium, Fulton Secondary and Vernon Secondary.

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