Luck of the draw

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — The fate of two municipal council positions in communities near Thunder Bay came down to the luck of the draw.

The Crooks Township councillor position in the Municipality of Neebing saw incumbent Brian Wright and Obie Egbuchulam tie with 79 votes each in Monday’s municipal election. A recount was held Wednesday with both candidates still tied 79-79, so it was time to break out the bowl. As a Municipality of Neebing staff member reached their hand into the bowl Wednesday, Egbuchulam’s name was on the victorious paper slip.

“It was totally random,” said Municipality of Neebing clerk-treasurer Erika Kromm. “One person grabbed a big bowl. We just took one ballot for each candidate, one that had been marked Obie and one that had been marked Brian and drew from there.

“One person held (the bowl) where the others could see it and we just reached in and picked it out.

“When we looked it up in the (Ontario Municipal Elections Act), I’m like, ‘Really? That’s how we solve it?’ I was sure they were going to make us do a byelection, but I guess not.”

Egbuchulam’s victory was still unofficial as of press time Wednesday as Kromm was awaiting confirmation from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that the municipality could declare Egbuchulam the winner. Egbuchulam did not respond to a text by press time.

In Conmee Township, they used a hat. David Halvorsen had his name pulled from the headgear in the municipal office to receive the fourth and final councillor position over Ellen Davis on Tuesday.

In Monday’s original count during the municipal election, Davis actually bested Halvorsen by one vote (121-120), but Tuesday’s recount showed that the race for the final councillor position was a tie at 121-121. Halvorsen ended up winning the game of chance. Halvorsen did not respond to phone calls and an email by press time.

The municipal election results for the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge were declared official on Wednesday. The final vote count for mayoral candidates was Lucy Kloosterhuis (incumbent) 905; Rick Potter 771; Brandon Postuma 686. (There were 10 spoiled votes and four votes declined). In the race for the four councillor positions, Donna Peacock (1,614), incumbent Bernie Kamphof (1,510), Dan Calvert 1,240 and incumbent Allan Vis (1,220) were elected while Rick Baraniuk (824), James Cassan (739) and Sabrina Ree (623). (There were 17 spoiled votes and 38 votes declined).

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal