Join the 50 per cent

Before we let the 2011 municipal election fade into the mists of time, there's one important step left to take.

The campaign is winding down.

By this time next week, the yard signs will be removed, the debates and meet and greets but a memory, and the next District of Invermere and Radium Hot Springs councils will be prepping for swearing in ceremonies. But before we let the 2011 municipal election fade into the mists of time, there’s one important step left to take.

Yes, we’re talking about that voting thing again.

According to a story by the Canadian Press floating around the internet in these last days of the campaign, low voter turnouts are expected across the province. For every 100 people who vote in a provincial race, the thinking goes, about 50 will show up to pick their next mayor and council. And of course, that provincial number isn’t as high as voter turnout when it’s time to pick the next federal government — not that those numbers have been anything to celebrate lately.

Earlier on in the election cycle this paper spent a few weeks trying to convince you that municipal elections don’t deserve their place at the bottom of the pack.

But since then, the voters who’ve crowded into auditoriums and community halls have shored up the case. While there have been questions about how to deal with an instance of poorly flavoured drinking water and debates about the pros and cons of sandwich boards, there’s also been a lot of really big picture talk going on in both communities.

As a commentator in that Canadian Press story jokes, it’s not like the village of Radium Hot Springs will decide whether or not we have to go to war with a Mid Eastern power.

But based on the questions lobbed around at community forums, they’ll need to stimulate economic growth, drive the creation of new jobs, build us a rec centre and maybe a theatre or cultural gathering place, bump up still-somewhat ailing tourism numbers and convince all our regional neighbours to pitch in and help. All that, and no tax increase, please.

It’s a big wishlist, for sure. And how our councils tackle it — what they try to pull off immediately, put off until later, or don’t bother with at all — have the potential for real impact.

If any of the above matter to you, a few minutes to fill out a ballot card are more than worth the investment.

— Valley Echo