Mackenzie Wants Local Representation
Prince George, B.C. – Mackenzie Mayor Pat Crook says it’s time for a ward system when it comes to electing school trustees in the Prince George School District.
The district, which includes Prince George, the District of Mackenzie and the Villages of McBride and Valemount, currently employs an at-large system.
Crook says the timing seems right considering a majority of candidates enthusiastically voiced their support to restructure representation during an all candidates forum in Mackenzie during last year’s election campaign.
“They all seemed to express support for it but I guess that support didn’t carry on past the election.”
He says he wrote a letter to the School Board requesting the restructuring in order to give them time to actually work through the process in time for the next election in 2018.
“About 60% of the school boards in the province have local representation elected in different areas. So it’s not an unusual move.”
Why the need for a ward system?
“We’d have a voice that could express concerns for the community, not a voice that expresses concern for Prince George or the region.”
Crook says a return letter from school board chairperson Tony Cable advised him they are committed “to ensuring that all seven trustees represent the interests of the District of Mackenzie and its citizens.”
To him, that meant they weren’t really interested in change at all. “I’m a bit a disappointed in the school board’s reaction to this,” he says. “To me it was basically a polite way of saying no.”
However Cable says that’s not the case.
“We have three years to discuss this issue and we’ll have lots of chances to meet with Mackenzie and talk about it further,” he says. “So we’re not shutting the door, we’ve got lots of time.”