Whether you live in a rural area, in a small village or town, or in a large urban centre, local government is tasked to take care of community needs. Specifically, local government (municipalities and regional districts) shapes communities by offering essential services, regulates local policies, regulates land-use/development, and plans for the future economic growth of the community.
Local governments provide and maintain essential services you use every day, like clean water, public transit, garbage and recycling collection, parks, roads, and more.
WHAT ARE THE SERVICES THAT AFFECT ME?
Here’s an overview of municipal services and why they are relevant to you as a member of your local community. Think about the candidates running in your community, and what they’re saying about the services you care about.
Local government can make our transit modern and efficient in order to increase productivity, cut back traffic and pollution, and connect people. Your municipality may also be one of the 60 local governments that pays into BC transit and shares responsibilities for developing and maintaining the province-wide transit system. Councils influence schedules, fares routes, infrastructure like shelters or bus stops, and more.
Local government can help create safe, affordable housing to ensure our communities are welcoming places to live, work, and thrive. Councils influence the development of social housing, zoning regulations, and incentives for development of more affordable housing.
ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE
Local governments can lead the way on innovation to reduce climate-changing emissions — from greener fleets to building retrofits to low-emission waste systems. Councils influence initiatives to improve air quality, composting programs, recycling programs and centres, and garbage collection.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Local governments are in charge of developing and maintaining parks and recreational activities that assist in individual and community development, improve quality of life, and enhance social functioning in our communities. Councils influence recreational programming, developments of and upgrades to facilities (like pools and ice rinks), investments in public art and cultural events, and more.
Local roads, bridges, and viaducts are some of the infrastructure crucial to our quality of life. Local governments own nearly two-thirds of the public infrastructure, and help keep our communities connected and safe. Councils influence the creation of bike lanes, road improvements, and green solutions to infrastructure.
Local governments own, operate, and maintain most of Canada’s 3,500 wastewater treatment systems. Councils also influence drinking water systems, maintaining clean rivers and coastlines, storm water systems, and more.
Local governments and their first responders are on the front lines when disaster strikes. They also protect communities from crime and threats to health and security. Councils influence emergency preparedness Services for fire, disaster, policing, search and rescue, and snow removal.
HOW DO I VOTE?
The big day is Saturday, October 20! Polling will be open from 8:00am to 8:00pm in every community. Advanced polling varies in each city and town, so look up the date in your community and vote early!
To be eligible to vote, you must be 18 years old (if you turn 18 on October 20 that counts!); be a Canadian citizen; have lived in BC for at least 6 months; and have lived in your local jurisdiction for at least 30 days.
Make sure your address is up-to-date! Register and update your info online with Elections BC here. All you need is provincial ID (like a driver’s license), social insurance number (SIN), and your address.
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