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Here’s how much the future council of Sechelt could make in 2023

Remuneration for the District of Sechelt elected officials is being considered for an increase — after the 2022 local election
Aerial view of Sechelt looking out toward the inlet in September 2011

A public advisory task force has taken a peek at the remuneration other communities in B.C. pay their elected officials, and has decided whoever serves on Sechelt council next is in need of a raise. 

At the June 15 council meeting, staff presented the task force’s process and recommended amendments to the remuneration bylaw. The task force suggested the mayor take home $50,000 annually — up from the current salary of $37,000 — and have a two per cent increase for the following three years. For the deputy mayor, a 10 per cent increase with a following two per cent increase for three years was recommended, with the deputy mayor continuing to rotate on a monthly schedule. The monthly rate for the acting deputy mayor is currently $139.41. Councillors would see their pay increase to $25,000 annually, also with the two per cent increase for three following years. The councillors’ salary has been static at $18,509.84 since 2018, Lindsay Roberts of human resources presented.

The task force reviewed the compensation of elected officials in comparable communities in B.C., by considering tax rates, cost of living and population size. One example provided was the City of Parksville, where they plan to pay their mayor $55,849.57, their deputy mayor $35,105.70 and councillors $31,914.28 in 2023. Parksville has a population of 12,514 people. The numbers of the four communities shown as examples did not include benefits.

The changes will not come into effect until Jan. 1, 2023, after this year’s election on Oct. 15. The adjustment in remuneration “may encourage more citizens to run for elected positions; therefore, providing opportunity for a more diverse pool of elected officials, which will foster community engagement and sustainability,” the report states.

As they passed all three readings, several councillors spoke in favour of approving the increases. 

Coun. Matt McLean said he doesn’t believe the increase “reaches the amount of commitment needed for this job. 

“To be honest,” he continued, “my career has been set back because I served on council. It is a huge time commitment. It is not a full-time job, but it is all encompassing… So what is a fair wage for that? I don’t know.”

He added that he hopes the increase will recruit new talent for the council, but that it can be a hard balance to strike. McLean previously announced that he will not be running for re-election.

Roberts acknowledged it was challenging territory to work with, and said larger organizations do pay higher salaries, but there’s no expectation the officials would keep their full-time jobs.

Coun. Brenda Rowe said she appreciates that the recommendation “at least” aligns the District of Sechelt with other communities and includes an annual bump. “I think we're a bit of an anomaly as well because we are all still working pretty darn full-time,” she said.

“It's only fair that the organization pay a reasonable wage, if it expects a reasonable level of commitment to process and priorities our community expects us to work on,” Coun. Alton Toth commented. “People should not have to be independently wealthy or retired property owners in order to run for council or sit at this table. Anybody who's interested in doing good for their community should have the opportunity to sit here without worrying about working multiple jobs to make it work. 

“Whether you're a doctor or a lawyer or a librarian or a school teacher, or waitressing at one of the restaurants, you do deserve to be rewarded for your time here,” he said.

The bylaw is recommended to be reviewed in 2026.

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