The municipal election is 24 days away. How can students get involved? Tom Young has some suggestions.
Young was a minor candidate in the 2014 Peterborough municipal election, running against current mayor and incumbent Daryl Bennett and now Liberal MP Maryam Monsef. He considers himself an active community member with a passion for politics.
“I’ve always voted in every election I’ve been entitled to. I figure it’s important to exercise our right to vote. I consider voting to be both a right and a responsibility,” he said.
Young sees the pressing issues in Peterborough’s municipal election being the Parkway, and the sale of Peterborough Distribution Incorporated (PDI).
The Parkway extension has been long-battled issue in Peterborough. Some residents believe that the Parkway, located in the city’s south-end connecting to Highway 115, should be extended to alleviate traffic and create thoroughfare for commuters. However, some residents reject this project proposal due to the effects it would have on the city’s green space, primarily Jackson Park located at Parkhill and Monaghan intersection.
PDI is a locally-owned and operated electrical distribution corporation, providing service to over 35 000 residents in Peterborough and the surrounding areas of Lakefield (north of the city) and Norwood (east of the city). However, in August 2018, Hydro One announced that it would be acquiring PDI for $105 million. A hot-button issue in the most recent provincial election, some residents see the move causing issues for rising personal costs long-term and rejection of local public business, while others appreciate the move on the city’s part.
Young encourages young people to vote local.
“If enough of you voted, then it could make a difference, especially in a close election,” he stated, noting that the undergraduate student population at Trent is growing.
Young cites apathy and disengagement from the Peterborough community as possible reasons that a significant number of students do not vote in municipal elections, but suggests finding issues that will always matter to students to advocate for in the short-term. For example, Young points to the Trent Express transit service that is in partnership with the city, as well as efforts to conserve green space.
So how does voting municipally in Peterborough work?
“First of all, there’s the mayor, that’s voted for across the city. Then there are five wards, each with two councillors, so you can cast two votes in whichever ward you live in,” he explained.
Young noted that most Trent students will vote in wards 3, 4, and 5 of the Peterborough municipal wards: Town Ward, Ashburnham Ward, and Northcrest Ward. West Bank on-campus residents would be in Northcrest ward (ward 5), and East Bank on-campus residents would be in Ashburnham ward (ward 4). Traill college residents are in Town ward (ward 3).
Many off-campus students will also reside in those three wards, though others — perhaps those living in Peterborough before attending Trent — may reside in Otonabee Ward (ward 1) and Monaghan Ward (ward 2).
To be eligible to vote, you must be 18 years old or older by October 22. You must also be a Canadian citizen, and qualify to vote in the municipality. To qualify to vote in the municipality, you must be a resident, a tenant, a property owner, or a legal partner of a property owner or tenant in that municipality.
To register to vote, or to see if and where you are registered to vote, visit voterlookup.ca. Alternatively, you can register to vote at the polling station by bringing government-issued identification and proof of residence.
An advanced poll will be at Trent’s Student Centre on Tuesday, October 16 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Internet voting is available during the election as well. The internet registration and voting period begins on October 9. Registration for internet voting ends at 7:00 p.m. and internet voting ends at 8:00 p.m. on October 22.
Correction (October 1): Against the print edition, this article now features the ward map for the 2018 municipal election. As well, here is the ward map for city council post-election. Thanks to Courtney Williams on Facebook!