Ucluelet residents voted on Saturday to select their next mayor and council.
“You can’t complain if you don’t vote. You’ve got to be active in what’s going on,” Michael Maryka told the Westerly News outside the town’s voting station at the Ucluelet Community Centre, which will close at 8 p.m. today.
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“It’s the price you pay for the privilege of living in a democracy,” said Bill Morrison.
Maryka cited experience as the top quality he was looking for in a mayoral candidate.
“Government can be confusing. Whether it’s the federal government or municipal, you’ve got to have an idea of what the mechanics are to get things done,” he said. “For councillors, I want somebody with experience and some new people with some new ideas that can learn and are willing to be hard workers. So, that was what led to my decisions.”
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Morrison said the key thing he was looking for in the candidates was trust.
“It’s a small town. I knew who I was voting for five seconds after I saw the candidate list,” he said. “Who knows what the issue is going to be tomorrow or next week? Things can change very quickly, so it’s not a specific issue-driven campaign for me.”
“I voted today so that my voice would be heard,” said Terry Hunziker, adding that he was glad to see a large list of candidates to choose from. “I think we had an excellent selection this time around; lot of new blood, so I’m happy about that.”
Hunziker cited housing as the key issue Ucluelet’s new council must tackle.
“I’m a business owner and there’s no place for staff to live,” he said. “We need to have some more housing so that we can actually employ people and they have a place to stay at a reasonable rate, not the Airbnb rates.”
Jessica Hutchinson cited the potential impacts of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans protected orca habitat designation and declining wild salmon populations in Barkley Sound as the two key issues she sees on the horizon, along with the lack of affordable housing.
“I voted today because I’m a huge fan of democracy but, moreover, I feel like we have a lot of big issues on the plate right now and, I think, now moreso than ever, we need to have a council and a mayor that are up to the challenges that will be ahead of them over the next four years,” she said.
She was also impressed with the candidates on Ucluelet’s ballot this year.
“I think it’s a good showing and a diverse showing from the community, which is great,” she said.
“The candidates I voted for I believe will represent the community fairly and amicably,” said Whiskey Kimola. “That’s about all there is to it…May the best candidates win.”
For all of the Westerly News’ stories on the municipal election, click here.