Last November Joscelyn Barnard quit after just a month as a North Saanich councillor and the new election is set to cost taxpayers close to $27,000.
That is the figure cited by Curt Kinglsey, who was recently named Chief Electoral Officer for the by-election. He explained that by-elections all come close to this mark.
It turns out democracy is an expensive business and this sizeable sum is dwarfed by the cost of the last federal election, which came in at $443million.
Barnard resigned from her position after only “a handful” of meetings claiming manipulation, litigation threats and an “unhealthy democracy.”
She said she volunteered to take a councillor position – her first term – because of “the lack of any other community members willing to do the job.”
Perhaps hearing this, eight members of the community have put themselves forward for the position and active campaigning has begun, with the election due to be held April 6.
At the time, Barnard gave her reasons for quitting in an emailed statement.
“What I found though was a system that can be manipulated to silence persistent councillors and suppress difficult information through the use of in-camera meetings, threats of publicly funded litigation, severance demands, and labour laws,” she wrote.
“This is not a healthy democratic environment for staff, council, or the public and I will not be a part of it.”
North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr disagreed with her statement and said while she was entitled to her opinion, he did “not agree with her characterization of the ‘system’ she experienced as a new councillor.”
The District of North Saanich held council meetings in response to Barnard’s resignation and named Director of Corporate Services Curt Kingsley to oversee the election.
The candidates running for the North Saanich councillor position are: