Salt Spring Islanders can be forgiven if their heads are spinning from election overload.
Like the rest of B.C., they are trying to take in as much as possible about provincial election issues ahead of the May 9 vote. Locally, the campaign will be hard fought with the three main candidates providing a rematch of the 2013 election. A mere 379 votes separated winner Gary Holman of the NDP from third-place finisher Adam Olsen of the Green party, and with Liberal Stephen P. Roberts only 163 votes behind Holman.
An all-candidates meeting at Gulf Islands Secondary School on Thursday, April 27 at 3 p.m. will give people a chance to see those three men in action. For people who can’t get to the school that day, the event can be viewed later online on the website of the Salt Spring Forum, which is sponsoring the meeting.
For property owners within the Salt Spring Fire Protection District — which is most of the island — an election for two trustees takes place this Saturday, April 22 at the Ganges Fire Hall from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Michael Jaeger, Mary Lynn Hetherington and Rollie Cook are vying for two seats. With several fire trustees failing to complete their terms in recent years, we hope the island can look forward to a period of fire board stability following this election.
Then on Tuesday, April 25, an election for two spots on the North Salt Spring Waterworks District board of trustees takes place during the NSSWD annual general meeting at Community Gospel Chapel beginning at 7 p.m. Candidates are Robert Steinbach, Michael McAllister and Bryce Chapman. Waterworks AGMs are usually low-key affairs. The last time trustee seats were not filled by acclamation was in 2014, when the vote spread was 39 to 17 for two challengers for one seat. Yes, only 56 people of those owning approximately 2,087 properties in the district participated in that election.
It’s not easy to become adequately informed about such a range of issues and to confidently cast a ballot for one person or another. (Remember too that a vote for one person, not two, is an option.) Some candidate information is available through the Driftwood, in print and online, and on the NSSWD, SSIFPD and B.C. party websites, but in-person conversations may be the best way to determine where candidates stand and if they represent a voter’s philosophy and wishes. Voting is hard work, but it’s worth it.