There are more uncontested seats in Barrie’s municipal election than days left to register to run.
With the deadline to file candidacy in the 2018 election set for Friday afternoon, three of 11 city council seats are headed toward acclamation. And only one candidate is registered for trustee seats in the Simcoe County District School Board wards 7 to 10, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board wards 1 to 5 and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir areas.
On Barrie council, incumbents Jeff Lehman (mayor), Sergio Morales (Ward 9) and Mike McCann (Ward 10) are currently running unopposed.
Ward 1 Coun. Bonnie Ainsworth, who is not vying for re-election, said a run for political office can cost thousands of dollars these days. Many candidates also run on a controversial issue or after a bad experience with government, but council has been relatively calm over the last four years.
“A lot of it is leadership and public opinion,” she said. “Often people run because they … strongly object to something. Under Mayor Lehman’s lead, our council has not been controversial. I don’t think anyone running to unseat an incumbent is doing it because they think they can do better. I just think they want the job for any number of reasons which is absolutely their right. It also costs a lot of money to run now … and the thought of not winning could be off-putting.”
In 2014, two seats — Michael Prowse in Ward 6 and Maria Hardie in Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board’s Area 2 — were acclaimed in the city. No candidates were handed seats in 2010.
The overall number of candidates is also down from previous elections. A total of 41 candidates are currently registered to run. But 62 council and trustee candidates signed up in 2014 and 66 ran in 2010.
It seems Barrie may be caught in a provincewide trend, city clerk Wendy Cooke said.
“We’re into the final week to register and so far we’ve not seen many candidates coming forward,” she said. “Other municipalities that I’ve spoken to are also reporting similar unusually low numbers. Last year, 22 candidates filed in the last two weeks, so we might get busy this week. There’s still time to register to run in the upcoming municipal election.”
Residents can sign-up to run for city mayoral and councillor positions, and nominations for trustee positions in the Simcoe County, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District, Viamonde and catholique MonAvenir school boards are also open.
The nomination period runs until 2 p.m. July 27. The municipal election is Oct. 22.
Candidates can submit a nomination form and applicable fee ($200 for mayor, $100 for all other positions) at city hall, 70 Collier St. They must also meet eligibility requirements. Candidates running for mayor and councillor positions need to submit an endorsement form signed by 25 people who can currently vote in the city.
More information is available at .