Byelection cost White Rock $32K

Residents hear from White Rock byelection candidates in an all-candidates forum Oct. 30. - File photo
Residents hear from White Rock byelection candidates in an all-candidates forum Oct. 30.
— image credit: File photo

Recent efforts that led to businessman Bill Lawrence being elected White Rock’s newest city councillor cost the city about $32,000.

Bill LawrenceThe expense was shared with council this week, in a report presented by city clerk Tracey Arthur.

The city had budgeted $40,000 for the Nov. 3 byelection, which was triggered by the June 26 death of longtime councillor Mary-Wade Anderson.

In addition to costs, Arthur’s report notes that voter turnout for the byelection was lower than the 15 per cent initially reporte

d – and lower in fact than any election held in the city since 1998.

A total 2,252 residents cast ballots, or 14 per cent of eligible voters.

Lawrence – who won the seat with 620 votes, beating eight other candidates – was sworn in on Nov. 19.

In byelections held in 1998 and 2009, voter turnout was 16 per cent.

Statistics show general election turnout has been declining since 2002, when it hit 48 per cent. In 2005, the number dropped to 39 per cent, then fell to 37 per cent in 2008. In the last election, held November 2011, 30 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.

In presenting her report, Arthur said the biggest decline was in advanced-voting numbers. Just 374 ballots were cast over the two days, compared to 652 in the 2009 byelection.

The $32,000 cited includes the cost of a mail-drop to single-family and strata-owner properties, that had been hoped to boost public awareness of the byelection.

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