Three members of mayor and council have indicated their intentions for the 2018 municipal election. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Mayor and two councillors confirm 2018 election intentions

Mayor Cobb and Coun. Craig Smith plan to run in October’s election, while Coun. Sue Zacharis has said she won’t.

So far it isn’t a quorum – the number of Williams Lake city councillors who have declared whether or not they will seek re-election in the Oct. 20 municipal election.

Mayor Walt Cobb confirmed in November he plans to run again.

Coun. Sue Zacharias announced in December she won’t seek a fourth term.

This week, when councillors were canvassed by the Tribune, Coun. Craig Smith was the only one who confirmed that he plans to run again.

Holding their cards close to their chests, councillors Ivan Bonnell, Scott Nelson, Laurie Walters and Jason Ryll said it was too early to make any public announcements about their plans.

Anyone wanting to run for council, however, has time to give it serious consideration.

The City’s chief election officer Cindy Bouchard said nomination packages will first be made available on July 27 and open for submissions from Sept. 4 to Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.

“It does not cost anything to submit a nomination, and people wanting to run don’t have to live within the city limits, but to nominate someone you have to live within the city limits and be on the registered voters list,” Bouchard explained, noting each nomination requires the endorsement of two registered voters.

Bouchard encouraged people thinking about running to consider the amount of time it takes to be on city council.

“By the time you add it all up, it’s the equivalent of two or three days of full-time work a week,” she said. “There’s nothing worse than having someone get elected who doesn’t understand that.”

Smith echoed Bouchard, saying it it is a part-time job.

“You have to be interested and want to better the community,” Smith said. “Meeting times alone are 10 to 12 hours a week with council meetings, special meetings, committee meetings and other commitments. Each of those meetings can be anywhere from one to four hours long.”

In addition to meetings there is the time it takes to prepare for meetings.

“The biggest agenda I ever had was 650 pages long,” Smith explained. “You are doing your colleagues and the city a disservice if you are not prepared for a meeting. If you don’t sit and go through the entire agenda package before your meeting you are not going to be able to add anything intelligent to the discussion.”

Smith said people often tell him they don’t have time to serve on city council, but as a guy running four businesses, taking university courses and finding time to walk with his dog every day, Smith thinks people can find the time if they want to.

“It’s about priorities,” he added.

When asked what he’s learned, Smith said the realization that as a councillor you might think you are going to make huge changes, but really you are part of a decision-making body and your vote is one in seven.

Read More: Williams Lake city councillor will not seek re-election in 2018

Read More: Mayor Cobb looks back on 2017

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