Meadow Lake’s mayor and council must be doing something right.

That’s the point of view the optimists are likely taking in response to the small number of candidates vying for a city council seat in the Oct. 26 municipal election. Only seven hopefuls (including four incumbents) filed nomination papers for the six available councillor positions. This means – when all is said and done – there will be only one odd man out, possibly resulting in somewhat of an uneventful race that, unfortunately, could have a negative impact on voter turnout.

Also, current mayor Gary Vidal – being the only nominee for that role – has already been acclaimed for another term. Although this marks the second general election in a row in which Vidal has been returned to office unopposed, there has never been so few nominees overall. At least, not in recent history.

In the 2012 general election, held Oct. 24 of that year, a total of 11 candidates were in contention for the six council seats. A year prior, when Vidal originally assumed the mayor’s chair, he was the preferred choice over three other viable candidates. Even the by-election held Sept. 16 of last year saw Kim Chiverton earn his position by securing more votes than two other interested parties.

Fewer candidates cannot simply be written off as just a “small town” thing either. Municipalities of similar size – and even smaller – traditionally attract a fair number of contenders because the issues that affect their communities are the same issues that affect them. While several villages and RMs throughout the Northwest have also experienced their share of acclamations heading into next month’s vote, the public will still have a choice when it comes to who will serve as mayor in both Loon Lake and Pierceland, while voters will also decide who will be reeve in the RMs of Meadow Lake and Loon Lake. It just goes to show democracy isn’t entirely dead and being an elected official is an opportunity to give back to one’s community and be an important part of the decision-making process.

Meanwhile, even though Vidal said he would rather have voters be given a choice, he’s still happy to continue as mayor and, much like the aforementioned optimists, views the small list of candidates as a sign citizens of Meadow Lake are happy with the way council has been conducting business. Hopefully this is the case and it’s not, in reality, an example of public apathy.

For every optimist there’s a pessimist, and this could ultimately be a sign that people just don’t care anymore. Which, if true, is a sad reflection of the Meadow Lake community.

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