Bri­gus coun­cil comes up short

Mayor, deputy mayor to be named dur­ing Sept. 10 meet­ing

The Compass - - THE COMPASS - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

An un­der­strength Bri­gus town coun­cil will of­fi­cially be sworn in dur­ing a meet­ing on Sept. 10, with the five town coun­cil­lors elected by ac­cla­ma­tion this week de­cid­ing amongst them­selves who will serve as mayor and deputy mayor.

Coun­cil is also ex­pected to con­sider dates for a by­elec­tion in an at­tempt to fill the two va­can­cies, said town clerk/man­ager Wayne Rose, who also served as re­turn­ing of­fi­cer for the Sept. 3 nom­i­na­tion process.

Ac­cord­ing to the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act, the town has 30 days to set a date for a by­elec­tion, and it must be within 90 days of when the by­elec­tion date was set.

Un­like in most other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the re­gion, vot­ers in Bri­gus will not be head­ing to the bal­lot box on Sept. 24, and Rose is con­cerned about the lack of in­ter­est from prospec­tive can­di­dates.

It’s his sense that cit­i­zens are com­fort­able with the way the af­fairs of the town are be­ing man­aged, and don’t see the need to step for­ward.

“I had a feel­ing this might hap­pen be­cause there wasn’t much talk lead­ing up to nom­i­na­tion day,” said Rose, not­ing it’s the first time since the mid-1970s that too few can­di­dates stepped for­ward in or­der to war­rant an elec­tion.

It’s likely a re­flec­tion of the town’s pos­i­tive fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, steady growth in the res­i­den­tial sec­tor, and an over­all up­beat feel­ing in the town, he added.

“Some­times, like in Clarke’s Beach, it takes some things go­ing on to bring peo­ple out of the wood­work to de­mand change,” said Rose, re­fer­ring to the more than two dozen can­di­dates who stepped for­ward for elec­tion in the neigh­bour­ing town.

Rose sug­gested it may be time to re­con­sider the num­ber of elected seats for smaller towns such as Bri­gus, with per­haps a re­duc­tion from seven to five for towns with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 1,000.

“At least it would not be so hard to fill your seats,” said Rose.

Those fil­ing nom­i­na­tions pa­pers this week were in­cum­bents Greg His­cock, By­ron Rod­way, Ralph Trick­ett and Lorne Youden, while Shears Mercer Jr. is back af­ter serv­ing 13 years on coun­cil in the past. Rod­way has served as mayor since Au­gust 2006.

The nom­i­na­tion process this time around was also unique in that it did not fea­ture a sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor. Coun­cil voted 5-1 dur­ing a meet­ing in June to have a sin­gle bal­lot, with coun­cil se­lect­ing a mayor and deputy mayor. Rod­way was the only mem­ber of coun­cil to op­pose the mo­tion.

Since it was in­cor­po­rated in 1964, the town has of­fered a sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor on only two oc­ca­sions — 2009 and 1990. The mayor was elected by ac­cla­ma­tion both times — Mayor Rod­way in 2008 and Dave His­cock in 1990.

Mean­while, the town has been func­tion­ing with only six mem­bers of coun­cil for the past year due to a res­ig­na­tion.

Two in­cum­bents coun­cil­lors, Faith Roberts-Pike and Roy Clarke, did not seek re-elec­tion.

There are roughly 500 homes in Bri­gus, with some 140 of those used as sea­sonal dwellings by non-res­i­dents.

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