The local election for Regional District of Bulkley Nechako area C director is a nonevent this election year.
On Nov. 19, voters in regional districts across the province will be heading to the polls to cast a vote for their candidate, but not in Fort St. James.
This year, no competition stepped forward against incumbent candidate Tom Greenaway, who has been in the role for one term of 3 years. Therefore Greenaway wins his seat again by acclamation.
Greenaway is perhaps a little relieved to not have to knock on doors this time around to regain his seat.
“It just makes life simpler,” said Greenaway.
Greenaway will serve for one more three-year term for area “C” which is rural Fort St. James, starting in the south just before Dog Creek and continuing up as far north as Manson Creek and Germansen Landing.
As a representative on the board, the directors make decisions on land use, Agricultural Land Reserve decisions, the allocation of grant funding, including grant-in-aid and provincial gas tax funding, and they deal with the landfill operations and waste management in the regional district as well. Greenaway has also been working with the District of Fort St. James and has lobbied the provincial government for improvements to the North Road and Highway 27.
In total there are 15 seats on the RDBN’s board of directors. Eight of the seats are filled after the Nov. 19 election by municipal directors, while seven are open to elected rural directors.
There are three empty seats on the RDBN’s board of directors and eight hopeful candidates registered.
Each director earns $1,000 per month and expenses for the position. Greenaway estimates he spends 60 days a year travelling for various meetings and conferences.
According to Cheryl Anderson, RDBN’s chief election officer, incumbents Bill Miller, director of area B, Burns Lake rural, Fraser Lake rural and Jerry Petersen, director of area F, Vanderhoof rural have also already secured the other four seats on the board by acclamation.
Anderson said that usually elected mayors of the eight municipalities within the RDBN fill the municipal director’s seats, however this is not always the case.
“Typically it is the mayor of the municipality that sits on the board, but it is up to each individual council to decide who will represent them,” she said, adding that sometimes a municipal councillor takes the RDBN board seat.
There are two candidates running for the seat of electoral area E, Francois/Ootsa rural.
Local residents Steve Freeman and Tim Maertz have registered for the area E seat, that is currently held by Eileen Benedict, who is also a Village of Burns Lake councillor.
Area A, Smithers rural also has three candidates running for election.
Smithers residents, Eugene Bekar and Shelley Browne as well as incumbent Stoney Stoltenberg, a resident of Telkwa are all hoping to secure the Smithers rural seat, while area G, Houston rural has two candidates, incumbent Lance Hamblin whose seat is being contested by Rob Newell.
Both are residents of Houston.
Anderson said that advance polling stations will be set up for the area E, Francois/Ootsa rural election at the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako office, on Third Avenue in Burns Lake, as well as at the Grassy Plains Elementary Junior School.
Ruth Lloyd with files from Rebecca Billiard