Since 2002, Bernice Magee has held the seat of Mayor of Burns Lake.
Now nine years and three municipal elections later she has publicly announced that she will be hanging up the mayoral chain of office and passing on the village’s gavel.
The announcement was made to members of the public during the official opening of the Lakes District Fall Fair and Music Festival.
Magee has been involved in the municipal politics of Burns Lake for 15 years. Prior to being elected as mayor in 2002, she also served two three year terms as a councillor.
She said to Lakes District News, “It has been both an honour and a pleasure to serve as the Mayor of Burns Lake. During my time in office, the community has undergone significant changes and I have consistently been impressed with the resilience and community spirit of our residents.”
Among the projects and accomplishments mayor Magee lists as most notable during her time as mayor are; the development of Spirit Square, the creation of Comfor Management Services Ltd. (CMSL) and the Burns Lake Community Forest, the creation of the Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA), the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay passing through Burns Lake and assuming the responsibility of managing the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena.
She also notes the Village of Burns Lake’s improved relationship with local First Nations groups and the push for a new Lakes District Hospital.
She said, “We are pleased to have full service agreements with both the Lake Babine Nation and the Burns Lake Band. It has been a privilege for me to have worked with all of the elected chiefs and councillors in the Lakes District.”
She went on to say that the creation of the community forest in 1999 has provided lasting benefits for local residents. “The growth of local employment, processing and resource management has been a positive outcome of CMSL. In addition, CMSL has supported forestry training and education, outdoor recreation activities and culturally significant economic and educational activities for First Nations. I am confident that the Burns Lake Community Forest and its parent company CMSL will continue to be a lasting community asset for generations to come.”
She also said the LEDA has proven to be an asset for the community in a time of economic uncertainty.
“In the face of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, the need for economic diversification and development was apparent. The development of LEDA has assisted with economic development initiatives in Burns Lake and surrounding area by providing support to local entrepreneurs and economic sector groups.”
Magee said she made the decision to not seek re-election because she felt that it is time for someone else to step forward to assume the role and responsibility of being the mayor.
“All committee appointments that I currently have as mayor will expire at end of my term in office. However, I will continue my involvement with the Burns Lake and District Community Foundation and will continue to be an active and engaged member of the community. Burns Lake is hosting the annual Minerals North event in May 2012 and I will certainly be around to help with that. I am looking forward to spending more time with my children and grandchildren and travelling with my husband. I have several hobbies that I would like to resume but I will really miss participating in local government discussions, meetings and events,” she said.
General election day is Nov. 19, 2011 and all four seats on council, as well as the seat of mayor, are open.
To be considered for mayor or a member of council, a candidate must be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 years old on election day, have lived in B.C. for at least six months and not been disqualified from voting in an election.
The rules state that candidates do not have to live in the jurisdiction in which they are running for office.
Employees or salaried officers of the Village of Burns Lake cannot run for office.
Potential candidates may not run for election if they have previously been disqualified for failing to file a disclosure statement in a previous election.
A candidate must first be nominated by two people and candidates are also required to open a separate bank account for all campaign contributions and expenses. Even if a candidate does not receive any campaign contributions or spend any money on their campaign, a separate account is still required to be opened.
Candidates are expected to serve a three year term, with the first term officially beginning in early December, 2011.