Beaverlodge is expected to have an election for the first time in years, says Jeff Johnston, Beaverlodge chief administration officers (CAO).
The municipal election is set for Oct. 18. Nominations close Monday at noon.
“We're trending to have an election,” Johnston said.
If all the nomination papers are in and fees paid in time, there could be seven people running a seat in the table in Beaverlodge, said Johnston. There are six councillors to be elected.
Interest hasn’t been as brisk across the board.
Beaverlodge, Wembley and Sexsmith all currently only have one nomination each for the mayoral candidacy.
As of past Monday, neither Sexsmith or Wembley had enough nominations for a full council. That said, administration has acknowledged some sitting councillors hadn’t filed nomination papers yet, with approximately one week before deadline.
“In the event that the number of nominations filed is less than the number of vacancies in the municipality, the returning officer will be available to receive nominations the next day from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.,” according to Alberta Municipal Affairs. “This process continues for up to six business days until an adequate number of nominations are received.”
In prior years nomination day was left to a single day; this year nominations open in January.
said Alberta Municipal Affairs.
Local administrators are getting creative in sparking interest in civic politics.
Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley have promoted the election using newsletters, Facebook pages, town websites and newspaper ads.
The Town of Sexsmith actively reached out to prospective candidates and CAO Rachel Wueschner said that she’s had some meetings with people interested in the process looking for more information.
“I will meet with them and walk through the process, and just give them some insight on what the role is and that sort of thing,” she said.
Wueschner had asked council Sept. 7 to consider temporary signage to entice residents to enter nomination papers. Council voted against it, largely citing precedent.
Noreen Zhang, Wembley CAO, said some residents have come and picked up nomination packages, but when the News spoke to her this past Monday few had yet returned to make it official. Staffers promoted the election and support for residents to submit their nominations via the town website, Facebook page and community posters.
“(Being a town councillor) is certainly is very rewarding because you do have do have a say of how your community is going to move forward,” said Zhang.
Meanwhile, in Beaverlodge, CAO Johnston concurs.
“I encourage anybody interested in running for council to do so, and I'm happy to speak with anybody that has questions about the process or concerns about the town,” said Johnston.
All nine divisions in the County of Grande Prairie have at least one nomination as of press time.
There is one candidate in Division 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. There are three candidates in Division 2, 4 and 9.
Watch next week’s Town & Country News for a complete list of candidates across the South Peace.
Anyone interested in running in their municipal election has until Monday noon to submit nomination papers to the returning officer of their municipality.
Interested parties can find nomination forms at town offices and by accessing the Municipal Affairs website at www.alberta.ca/municipal-election-forms.aspx
A $100 fee must also be paid with submitting the nomination forms. The incumbent must be at least 18 years or older, a Canadian citizen and be a resident of your constituency for six months immediately preceding nomination day.
Information for each municipality can be found on their websites:
Sexsmith: sexsmith.ca—How Do I?—Run For Municipal Office
The County of Grande Prairie: http://countygp.ab.ca/elections
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News