Those not wanting another election received good news Tuesday afternoon.
Justice Bruce Cohen released his decision regarding the Supreme Court petition over the Town of Gibsons municipal election results and dismissed the case, meaning the current council is affirmed duly elected and Gibsonites will not be heading back to the polls.
The past few months have been trying ones for the Town of Gibsons. With this court case hanging over them like a dark cloud, council's ability to make decisions has been hamstrung. They have not been able to move forward with budget discussions or further public consultation with regards to Gospel Rock. It's been frustrating for staff, for council, for the community.
Some in Gibsons have been critical of the petitioners for launching this challenge, feeling that a judicial recount would have been the best course of action and that it was unfortunate that the Town was put in this position, that taxpayers were put on the hook for an unnecessary and costly exercise.
In his decision, Justice Cohen ruled than an error was made when a recount was conducted without knowledge of the candidates or their scrutineers, but it was an error made in good faith and did not warrant an overturn of the election results. Cohen also said that a judicial review would have been the best course of action.
Right or wrong, depending on how you saw this case, the petition was a fair and just act and was done so democratically and fairly. Both sides presented their case and the Town won. But the case did point out a few things: some people in our community will hopefully take municipal politics more seriously, be more engaged in the process, and get more involved with their government leaders.
The other point, and we can't stress this one enough, is the Town must take another look at how elections are run. In 2005, council was disappointed in how long it took for the votes to be tabulated and the results known. The Town vowed to improve the system and assured everyone that this time everything would run smoothly. Well, that certainly did not happen. An error was made - an error that potentially could have seen a new election costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.
The election system currently being used by the Town of Gibsons is clearly flawed and needs to be fixed. The Town has two strikes against them. We don't want to see that third strike and they're out three years from now in the next election, do we?