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Residents of two municipalities in the Smoky River region will be heading to the polls Oct. 15, the date of the 2001 Municipal Election.
Officials from both the Town of McLennan and M.D. of Smoky River No. 130 have confirmed that they will be holding elections in October to determine who will represent the two municipalities for the next three years.
Lynn Pele, returning officer for the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130, said five of the six incumbent councillors have retained their positions on council by acclamation following the closing of nominations Sept. 17 at 12 noon.
They include: Louis Tokarz (Division 1), Victor Begin (Division 6), Donald Dumont (Division 3), Richard Aubin (Division 2) and Robert Brochu (Division 5).
The only rural division left unaccounted for was in Division 4 where incumbent Andre Bremont received an election challenge from nominee Raymond Desaulniers, who threw his name into the election hat this past Monday.
Pele’s role as returning officer also covered Ward 1 of High Prairie School Division No. 48 where the two trustee positions have been filled by acclamation. They include the return of incumbent Marco Gervais and Angela Blanchette, who will replace outgoing Trustee Dennis Brochu.
An election will also be held in the Town of McLennan, where the nomination process sparked widespread interest among residents with 10 nominees taking aim at the seven positions available in the Oct. 15 election.
Incumbent councillors in the hunt for another term in office include Michele Fournier, Dwayne Stout, Bob Thrall and John Kachuk, who revealed his intention this week to seek the mayor’s chair.
He will be joined in the mayoral race by Nabil Razkalla. Razkalla, a former McLennan Town Councillor, resigned last year to refocus his efforts on Acting Chairperson of LEG UP’s (Lakeshore Enhancement Group – Unique Potential) Open Air Market proposal.
Razkalla said he didn’t make the decision to run for mayor until the night before Nomination Day, adding that he is basing his election campaign on the promotion of new ideas and a fresh way of thinking.
“It’s time to think of new approaches for our problems… it’s time to hand over the baton to the next runners,” he said last week in reference to McLennan’s current town council. “We thank the ones who ran the race so far. They did their very best and we are indebted to them.”
The remaining nominees vying for the six councillor spots on town council include Eckhard Christen, Dorris Comeau, Serge Bernier, Lee Hamelin and Patricia Bacon.
Coun. Thrall says he is genuinely pleased to see such a positive response from residents to the election process this year.
“I think it’s great to see so many residents getting involved in the election process by running for town council next month,” he said last week, adding the response clearly demonstrates the tremendous amount of pride which residents have for their community.
Out of the election loop in McLennan are current Mayor Ron Faulkner, a 22-year veteran of politics, and Coun. Cheryl Kachuk, both of whom announced they will not be seeking re-election.
While a mayoral change in McLennan is imminent, the same can’t be said in the Town of Falher where Mayor Margaret Tardif has retained her position by acclamation.
Also in by acclamation are incumbent councillors Phil Dube, Donna Buchinski and Stephen Carter, who will be joined on town council by a pair of new faces – Wade Nicolet and Gerald Caron. Current Coun. Roger Dubois, meanwhile, has confirmed that he will not run for another term. That leaves one councillor vacancy still up for grabs by virtue of an extended nomination process.
Gerard Nicolet, municipal administrator and returning officer for the Town of Falher, says the shortage of interest for town councillor spots at election time is nothing new.
“We experienced similar problems in the past two elections in terms of filling vacant positions on Nomination Day,” he said Sept. 18.
West of Falher in the Village of Girouxville there are similar nomination concerns being felt with three positions out of a possible five being filled by acclamation following the upcoming departure of councillors Denis Houle and Raymond Dallaire from the municipal politics scene.
In by acclamation are current Mayor Carmen Ewing and councillors Claude Girard and Roger Maure.
In Donnelly, Returning Officer Helene Hausler says all five councillor spots have been filled by acclamation. That includes the return of current Mayor Charles Doyle and councillors Gerard Benoit, Sharon Doucet and Susan Lafreniere as well as newcomer Daniel Bouchard.
Incumbent Marlene Simpson opted not to seek re-election.
On the education front, the nine trustee positions within the Holy Family Catholic Regional Division No. 37 are all accounted for.
In by acclamation are Denise Valiquette of Ward 2 (McLennan), Margaret Michaud of Ward 4 Subdivision 1 (Manning), Debbie Gour and Diane Martel of Ward 4 Subdivision 3 (Peace River/Nampa) as well as newcomers Edna Kosik-Harvey of Ward 3 (Valleyview), David William Mitchell of Ward 4 Subdivision 2 (Grimshaw/Berwyn), George Ostermeier and Jean Luc Dubé in Ward 1 (High Prairie), as well as Rene Lanctot in Ward 4 Subdivision 4 (Fort Vermillion).
An election is taking place in the Peace Health Region where nine nominees have submitted their names for six elected positions on the Peace Health Authority Board. (Oct. 15 marks the first time in the history of the province that elections are being held for various regional health boards).
Terri Williams, Fernand Turcotte, Christina Jones and Lawrence Meardi will be competing for two seats in Electoral District 1 (covering M.D.’s No. 130 and 131, as well as McLennan, Falher, Marie Reine, Nampa, St. Isidore, Reno, Donnelly and Girouxville).
Janet Blayone and Ken Gall have secured seats by acclamation in Electoral District 2 (Peace River) as was the case with Carmen Johnson in Electoral District 3 (M.D. No. 135, including Berwyn, Grimshaw and Brownvale).
An election will also be held in Electoral District 4 (M.D. No. 22, including Manning, Dixonville and North Star) with Darlene Frith and Sharlene Loiselle squaring off against one another for the final seat.
Further nominations remained open and were adjourned on a day to day basis until the required number of nominees had been achieved or until Monday, Sept. 24 at 12 noon.

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