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UBCM term limit extension headed for revote

Municipal politicians are opposed to extending their terms from three years to four, according to a tight vote at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities today. The vote has been challenged, however, and will be retaken tomorrow morning.

The UBCM's resolutions committee had recommended supporting extending the terms, which had been recommended by a provincial government task force on local government.

“It's more about stability for the entire province,” said Peter Fassbender, mayor of Langley City, though he said he understood the argument that shorter terms are better for engaging young people in politics.

Paddy Weston from Kimberley, said longer terms would be a disincentive for many people, especially when considering whether to serve a second term. The commitment would then be eight years instead of six.

“We can accomplish a lot in three years,” she said. She also said mayors and councillors in most communities receive pay that is too low to survive on.

Colwood mayor David Saunders said longer terms will discourage young people. “It is a huge committment and it is a huge sacrifice,” he said. “Quality business people won't step forward as much with a four year term.”

Delegates voted 268 to 244 to defeat the motion, but the vote was challenged. After procedural wrangling the chair ruled that a paper ballot will be held on the question Thursday.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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