Updated Oct. 5
Township councillor Charlie Fox withdrew a motion to limit councillors to a maximum of four terms in office.
At the Township meeting on Oct. 1, Fox announced legal council had notified him that the proposed motion violates the community charter.
Original story below:
Members of Langley Township council would be limited to four terms in office under a proposal advanced by veteran Township councillor Charlie Fox.
Fox has filed a notice of motion for consideration at the next meeting of council on Monday, Oct. 1 that seeks to set a maximum limit of four terms.
That would amount to 16 years, now that municipal elections happen every four years instead of three.
“This is not a job for life, it’s a job for service, and that service should be finite,” Fox told the Times.
“Why shouldn’t there be an opportunity for new, younger candidates?”
Fox, who is retiring after four terms and 13 years, said councillors should be able to accomplish their goals within a 16-year period.
He said he did just that, by helping to build a new rec centre in Aldergrove and make safety improvements to 16 Avenue.
Reaction to the idea of terms limits was mixed from the two longest-serving members of council.
Coun. Bob Long, who has been elected six times during his 18 years on council, said term limits would amount to interference with the right of voters to elect whoever they want, as often they want.
While the Fox motion suggests the term limits could be accomplished by amending the election bylaw, Long said it may not be that simple.
“We’re under provincial legislation for almost everything we do,” Long said.
“I cannot think of any municipality in the province or country that has term limits.”
Coun. Kim Richter, who also has served six terms and 18 years on council, supports the idea.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Richter said.
“It’s a healthy thing. I’ve long supported it.”
Richter said she attempted to convince council to adopt terms limits several years ago, but the proposal was “roundly defeated.”
She said she will propose even tighter limits when the proposal comes back to council for discussion on Oct. 1, with a maximum of three terms for councillors and two for mayors.
“I’ve long advocated for term limits … so that new people get a chance ,” Richter said.