Editorial: Change coming in Lantzville

In just over a week’s time, on Aug. 8, residents of the little seaside district will elect four new councillors in a byelection.

Change is coming to Lantzville council.

In just over a week’s time, on Aug. 8, residents of the little seaside district will elect four new councillors in a byelection. It wasn’t an election campaign for which citizens were clamouring, but it was forced on them because of irreparable divisions – and ultimately resignations – within the last, short-lived district council.

Voters will have choices at the ballot box. This byelection has attracted 12 candidates, more than there were in last November’s civic election. The most important outcome of the vote next week is simply a functional council. Councillors won’t always agree, and it’s not even imperative that they resolve their differences as long as they can bear to sit in the same room as one another and put the people of Lantzville first.

Governance, co-operation and work environment became primary election issues precisely because those were the failings of the previous group. But that unpleasant business can be put aside if new councillors get their priorities straight. The next council doesn’t have to fix the problems of the last one, it need only avoid the same pitfalls.

It’s hard to imagine that the coming council will flame out like the last one, so voters should go to the polls this time around reasonably confident that they can cast their ballots with other municipal issues foremost in their minds. Lantzville’s water agreement with Nanaimo is consistently cited as the most significant business facing the district right now, and there are also decisions to be made about real estate development, downtown revitalization and fire protection.

Lantzville was a leader in B.C. in voter turnout in the last civic election. We hope that trend will continue, and that residents will continue to pay attention afterward. Change is coming, and it’s up to councillors and citizens to ensure that it’s change for the better.