Mackenzie Continues Push for Regional Representation
Mackenzie, B.C. – The District of Mackenzie is continuing its drive for regional representation within the Prince George School District.
For over a year Mackenzie has been pushing to replace the current at-large voting system in the district with a ward system where one trustee would be elected in the Mackenzie area, one in the Robson Valley and the remaining five elected in Prince George.
Roughly 75 per cent of communities already elect their school trustees through regional representation in British Columbia and the initiative has the support of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George and the communities of Valemount and McBride.
The change would require a ministerial order from Education Minister Mike Bernier and support from the Prince George School Board.
In Mackenzie, a petition drive was launched in November to build public support and Mayor Pat Crook says they plan to present the signatures at the school board’s meeting in February.
He says the petition drive started slow but has been gaining momentum.
“It’s going well. I mean it could always be better I guess, but just trying to get people to take the time to listen to the explanation and sign the petition is all,” says Crook. “I couldn’t say exactly how many signatures because I haven’t been involved in it but I do know that I was in the mall yesterday talking to someone and he had five pages of signatures and that’s just him.”
(Deputy Mayor Joan Atkinson oversees the petition but is in Ottawa attending to a personal matter this week).
In addition to the petition, he says the district will be sending letters to Education Minister Mike Bernier and area MLAs Shirley Bond and Mike Morris reminding them of the importance of the issue.
Crook’s goal is to have the change in place in time for the next scheduled local elections in 2018.
“It’s just like the regional district – the regional district has representatives from all the different areas within the regional district,” he says.
“And the school board I would think would want to have representatives from the other regions in the school district as well so you could have a real-time person there that could bring up issues that are happening today.”