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Municipal terms going to 4 years

The BC government will introduce legislation to change local elections from a three-year to a four-year cycle beginning with the 2014 elections.

That announcement was made Tuesday morning by Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes.

Subject to legislative approval, the next BC local elections after Nov. 2014 will be in Oct. 2018.

Oakes says four-year terms will give local governments more time to consult, plan and achieve community goals - and also help to manage election costs.

"My experience as a municipal councillor convinced me that to succeed in today's complex world, local governments need enough time to plan and complete projects that build strong, inclusive communities," says Oakes.

"I'm confident this change, supported by UBCM and the task force, will help local governments continue to make BC's communities great places to live and work."

All other Canadian provinces hold local government elections every four years.

Extending the term of office will apply to BC's mayors and all elected officials serving municipalities, regional districts, parks boards, school boards and the Islands Trust. Moving to four-year terms was recommended by the Local Government Elections' Task Force.

Last year, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) passed a resolution supporting extension of the term of office for elected local government officials from three to four years.

The BC School Trustees Association also supports the change.

The move to four-year terms is part of a package of local election reforms planned for the current legislative session.

The changes will modernize election campaign financing rules ahead of the 2014 local elections.

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