Wager’s on: Tofino vs. Smithers, for a song

In the battle of the votes, it’s Tofino vs. Smithers, and the stakes are high and quite musical.

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne – who is acclaimed in the election by virtue of being unopposed – was chatting with her Smithers counterpart, Mayor Taylor Bachrach.

“The challenge is which community, Tofino or Smithers, can increase its voter turnout by the greatest number of percentage points,” Osborne said.

Bachrach upped the ante with a proposal that the mayor of the losing community write an original song praising the other town as a bastion of democracy, and sing it with at least 20 other community members, filming the whole thing for Youtube.

Attendees at Tofino’s all-candidate debate last Thursday filmed a little Youtube challenge for all to get their vote on.

Tofino’s turnout in 2011 was at 56%, an enviable number by some municipal standards – but actually a dip from its heights of 71% in 1999.

Smithers’ last turnout was 41%, and with their acclaimed leader not running, risk a downturn as well in the northwestern BC town halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

If turnout in both communities drops, the town with the smallest drop in turnout loses the wager.