Stettler mayor narrowly retains seat with two newcomers elected

Being questioned by residents – Mark your ballot with an X – Town of Stettler returning officer Greg Switenky (left) confers with polling clerks and voters during municipal elections Oct. 18 at Stettler Community Hall.

Being questioned by residents – Mark your ballot with an X – Town of Stettler returning officer Greg Switenky (left) confers with polling clerks and voters during municipal elections Oct. 18 at Stettler Community Hall.

Dick Richards was narrowly re-elected the mayor of the Town of Stettler while one of four incumbent councilors was defeated in municipal elections on Oct. 18.

Serving one year as mayor, Richards held on to a strong challenge from Stettler Community Church pastor Will Brown by a count of 689-662, a margin of just over one per cent – reportedly the closest mayoral race in over 20 years.

“It was a barn burner,” said Richards, who acknowledged the solid campaign by his challenger.

“It’s a testament to the hard work that Mr. Brown put into his campaign.”

“For someone so new to the community, he should be proud of his efforts.”

Although not elected, Brown will likely get an opportunity to share his good ideas and resources for the town.

“I look forward to getting him involved in a few town committees,” said Mayor Richards.

Brown also commended the mayor for a solid election.

“Dick ran a good campaign and I look forward to working with him and the town committees,” said Brown, who met and listened to council people on the campaign trail.

Former elementary school principal Malcolm Fischer topped the polls for six councilor seats with 1,021 votes.

Also elected to council were incumbent Al Campbell with 984, incumbent Leona Thorogood with 922, incumbent Darcy Bachman with 648 and newcomers Steven Wildeboer with 494 votes and Peter Simons with 462.

Out of contention were Len Kostenuk (450), incumbent Dave Garbutt (439), Wayne Tebbe (425), Boyd Jackson (296) and Dave Thiessen (270).

“I am greatly flattered by the faith that people have in me and I will need to work hard to make sure that faith is well-founded,” said Fischer.

Completing one three-year term, Garbutt accepted the wishes of the voters.

“The electorate has spoken and I respect the decision of the voters,” said Garbutt.

“I wish the new council all the best.”

Two other new councillors are committed to face the challenges ahead.

“As a newcomer to the community, I didn’t expect to win this time, but probably in three years,” said Wildeboer, who has already met with members of the new council.

“We all want to have a positive relationship together,” he said.

Re-elected as a trustee to Clearview School Division and also serving as chief administrative officer for the Village of Donalda, Peter Simons will be a busy man.

“It is an honour to have been given the opportunity to serve Stettler as both a public school trustee and town councilor, “said Simon

“The next three years will be important ones for both our town and our school system and I aim to do my best to ensure they are successful years for our community”

“Working together is the best way for all of us to move forward.”

While voter turnout was strong throughout the day, 1,344 voters for a turnout of about 29,08 per cent, slightly higher than the turnout of 28.99 per cent in 2007, said returning officer Greg Switenky.

Results will be official Friday at 12 noon.