Village of Lytton elects two new councillors in byelection

·2 min read
A lamp post stands in front of the ruins of a burned building in Lytton, B.C., on July 9, 2021. Two new councillors were elected to the village council in a Saturday byelection. (Bethany Lindsay/CBC - image credit)
A lamp post stands in front of the ruins of a burned building in Lytton, B.C., on July 9, 2021. Two new councillors were elected to the village council in a Saturday byelection. (Bethany Lindsay/CBC - image credit)

Two Lytton, B.C., residents were elected in a Saturday byelection to fill vacant spots on the village's council, as the focus now shifts to rebuilding the village levelled by wildfire last summer.

According to preliminary results, with a total of 82 ballots cast, Melissa Michell and Ross Urquhart will be the two new councillors for the village located at the junction of the Thompson and Fraser rivers in the province's southern Interior.

Michell received 71 votes and Urquhart received 66, with the other candidate Ernie Wagner only receiving 24 votes.

The two new councillors will fill the spots that were formerly occupied by Tiffany Callawaert and Robert Leitch on the four-person council. Typically, Lytton has four councillors along with a mayor

Callawaert resigned in early 2021 and nominations for candidates to fill her spot were due only two days before the village was all but destroyed in a wildfire on June 30, 2021.

Leitch resigned that December after comments he made on social media were criticized for amplifying conspiracy theories.

That left the community, home to about 249 people, with only three elected leaders making big decisions about the village's future.

The two new councillors will be in their roles until the civic elections in the fall. They join Mayor Jan Polderman and councillors Ian Hay and Lilliane Graie.

Michell is the finance manager for the Kanaka Indian Band, according to her LinkedIn page, and said she'd like more transparency from council on plans moving forward.

Urquhart has degrees in political science and environmental policy, according to his website. He has authored two books, including a collection of short stories about the Stein Valley, and one on philosophy. He has also had work published by the Georgia Straight from 2012 to 2015.

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