Opinion

Does your vote count?

Jerry Arshinoff
For the County News
 

On September 23, the names of all the candidates aspiring to a seat in Rocky View Council will be known to the public.

From that day, electors in the County will have less than four weeks to decide who to vote in Election Day, October 21.

In earlier Rocky View elections, many candidates have won or lost by very few votes. Quite likely the same will happen again. One of the great beauties of elections in places like Rocky View is that your vote is one of a few hundred as opposed to one of many tens of thousands.

That means your vote can and will count.

Conversely it also means every voter has the obligation to become familiar with the issues. Opinions, candidates and options can vary dramatically—but all voters should have a solid understanding of what the issues are before placing their X on the ballot.

However, while it may not be all that dissimilar to other municipalities, Rocky View has a record of abysmally low voter turnout.

Why? There may be good reasons. The great majority of people have jobs, kids, mortgages and various miscellaneous commitments. In the early 80s economists and sociologists were predicting that in 25 years people would have so much spare time they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves—they would have much shorter work weeks, far more money, kids’ recreational and sport activities would need less volunteer time, etc.

This has to rank as one of the worst predictions ever. If anything the opposite has occurred.

In addition, major news networks cover provincial and federal elections but not municipal, unless for very large cities. Lack of time and news coverage result in many people not knowing what is going on in their own communities.

Residents should be able to assume those who govern the County are making every effort to make sure their homes and neighbourhoods are safe—that is to say the municipality uses taxpayers’ money for the benefit of the residents. For example, to prevent danger of flooding, address sewage concerns, check traffic issues and make sure at least adequate fire and police protection is in place.

This is not the case in Rocky View. There is no adequate storm water policy. Without proper study, the County approves sewage systems that use “spray irrigation” (perhaps the greatest misnomer in the history of municipalities). The new monster development down your road may lower your home value and will increase traffic and crime while adequate police services have become too expensive – and most of the firemen are gone.

Essentially every reason you had for living here has declined. Only tax has gone up.

Bottom line – if residents don’t start paying attention really soon we may find it’s too late. It is unfortunate and unfair but it is also reality.

We have until Election Day to figure out who is going to look after the County and its residents.

Jerry Arshinoff is a Springbank resident who has declared intention to run for a Council seat in Division 2.

 

About

Enrique Massot has been reporting on Rocky View County since 1999. He worked for Sterling News, the Rocky View Weekly and the Cochrane Eagle. He also ran for a Div. 9 council seat in 2010.

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