Ste. Agathe and St. Adolphe vote for change

Following months of campaigning in St. Adolphe (Ward 1) and Ste. Agathe (Ward 3), the results of Ritchot’s 2022 municipal election are in.

Jason Bodnarchuk of St. Adolphe and Joel Lemoine of Ste. Agathe have both defeated their incumbent challengers by significant margins to claim victory. Bodnarchuk and Lemoine will join acclaimed councillors Janine Boulanger (Ward 4) and Shane Pelletier (Ward 1). Rounding off the five-member council is acclaimed mayor Chris Ewen.

“Every four years, there’s an opportunity for councils to stay the way they were or for councils to change,” says Mayor Chris Ewen. “I look forward to working with council for the next [term].”

In St. Adolphe, 24 percent of the community’s eligible voters turned out. This is down from the 36 percent seen in the election of 2018.

Out of the 480 votes cast, Bodnarchuk won by a large margin with 317 votes compared to incumbent Ron Mamchuk’s 163 votes.

Ste. Agathe saw a 31 percent voter turnout from its potential 1,464 eligible voters. Here, Lemoine also received the lion’s share of the votes at 276 compared to Claydon’s 180.

“I feel good,” says Bodnarchuk. “I’m excited and I can’t wait to get to work. It’s a surreal feeling, for sure.”

While voter turnout is down somewhat from the last election, Bodnarchuk says he’s just glad people made the effort to get out to the polls and make a difference.

Bodnarchuk anticipates meeting with CAO Mitch Duval later this week to discuss the details of his first days in office.

For Lemoine, it’s been an eventful day, beginning this morning by testing positive for COVID-19. Locked away in a bedroom at home, he watched the results unfold from a computer screen.

“One thing that I was surprised about is that we got 31 percent of the voters out, even considering there wasn’t a mayor up for election,” Lemoine says. “Curtis and I did our job by going to as many doors as possible and getting people out there. The numbers could have been higher, obviously, but I’m happy with the outcome that we got.”

The newly elected council waits now for direction from CAO Mitch Duval on how the next steps will proceed. Over the coming days, council will be officially sworn into office.

From there, it will be business as usual. The new council’s first public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1 at 9:00 a.m.

Mayor Ewen says that the new council members will be briefed on several key issues going on in the RM.

“Be it, ‘What’s our capital plan that we have in place?’ or ‘Is there something that might need changing?’” says Ewen. “And then council will decide, as a whole, what works best.”

Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen