In less than two months Sylvan Lake, along with every other municipality in Alberta, will decide on the direction and future of their communities. On October 21 we will, as a community, decide who will serve as our mayor and as councillors for the next four years.
While the process will be quick in comparison, the results will have a lasting impact. Residents will be tasked with choosing representatives who will make important decisions that could take effect as early as this fall, and potentially impact us through the next 50 years.
Every resident will play a part in collectively choosing the direction of our community. Some will vote for a new direction, some will vote for the same direction as years past, and some will not vote and in doing so effectively support no direction. Every vote, and non-vote will be counted.
During the last election in 2010 Sylvan Lake had 7,557 eligible voters. 2,355 residents played a part in choosing the current mayor and council, and 5,202 chose to give no direction.
As we consider our votes, understand a councillor represents one vote of seven when it comes to decision making; and as always in a democracy, the majority rules.
One of the largest tasks on council isn’t just making the right decision for the good of the people, it’s building consensus. That’s a challenge among just two people in a relationship, and even more challenging with seven adults with a community at stake.
With this in mind we need to think about what Sylvan Lake is. Just as importantly we need to envision what Sylvan Lake should be, and who should represent it. In my eyes, our representation should reflect our community.
According to the spring 2013 census, we have a population of more than 13,015, 54 per cent of which are under the age of 35, bucking the national trend. That means in addition to having integrity, being dedicated, working to be informed, and having a vision for our future, our next mayor and council members would ideally be comprised of a healthy mix of men and women, who will vary in age, and be in-tune with the needs of the youth, families, adults, and seniors that make up our population.
This is a call to action. A call for a diverse and dedicated slate of candidates to represent all of Sylvan Lake effectively in the coming election. Yes, the schedule of council is demanding and the position highly scrutinized, but if you love this community, you are dedicated, and have integrity; I encourage you to consider a tour of duty on council.
Nomination day is Monday, September 23 and election day is Monday, October 21.
I’d be happy to help answer any questions you have about the job. If you have questions about what it’s like to be on council, feel free to reach me on Twitter @SeanFromSylvan or email me at Sean@SeanFromSylvan.ca or find me on Facebook. If your questions are related to Town business specifically, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we work together, whether it’s on council, in a community group, or in our own homes, we can build this community into something better; something that we can all be a part of, and be proud of. It all starts with a decision, then a step forward!