Thursday, September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

Editorial: New era with LCC

Salt Spring’s first-ever Local Community Commission (LCC) election is now in the books.

Gayle Baker and Brian Webster, the two candidates with past experience on Capital Regional District (CRD) commissions, topped the polls with almost identical vote counts. Earl Rook finished in a solid third place, and Ben Corno came fourth.

Voters’ top-three picks mirrored the recommendation of Positively Forward, the group that initiated discussions on the Local Community Commission (LCC) concept following the resounding rejection of incorporation in a 2017 referendum. Corno was one of the younger candidates who made himself familiar to those outside his circles by running for Islands Trust last fall and whose positive demeanor was among the brighter spots of both campaigns.

An extremely diverse set of candidates made the courageous decision to compete for the four available LCC spots. We applaud all of them for being interested enough to do some research about the LCC and CRD and run the sometimes harsh gauntlet of public scrutiny. The demands to earn votes were high, with candidates fielding questions directly from voters and groups with specific interests — even some organizations that are not directly connected to or receiving funding from the CRD. In fact, much of the discussion during the election period was not about LCC-specific matters, but it did result in some worthwhile public conversations.

Ultimately the election outcome is a good one for the island. Baker and Webster already know how the CRD system works, giving them a head start in navigating the bureaucracy. All four individuals are diplomatic, have relevant experience, lots of energy and wide networks in the community. That’s not to suggest the other candidates lacked those qualities, but as Rook said on Monday, this particular group has “the skills and motivation to work together in a constructive way for the benefit of the community.”

While the LCC has nowhere near the powers of a municipality, it should be an improvement on the status quo by reducing silos and increasing coordination in delivery of some CRD services. Having five elected individuals instead of only one involved in public consultation and decision-making will also be a big plus.

Let the era of a new form of Salt Spring governance begin.


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