Saturday , 24 July 2021

Municipal elections nominations open in Vermilion

Vermilion mayor says she intends on running for position again. Information below for other local communities.

For the first time ever, municipalities across Alberta have opened nominations for their fall elections from January 1 – September 20.

In previous years, the nomination period would have lasted only 30 days prior to the election. CAO, George Rogers, said Vermilion’s election day will be held October 18.

“The previous provincial NDP government changed the Local Authorities Election Act,” said Rogers.

“The extension puts a little more emphasis saying for the bulk of the year there will be a major event happening in October. It allows candidates to get ready to start a campaign and fundraise – part of the changes made it a bit more onerous as far as the requirements for fundraising.”

Mayor Caroline McAuley said the changes were largely made to reflect larger centres because their campaigns can be quite costly.

She said in rural areas like Vermilion, there hadn’t been a significant emphasis placed on fundraising, and that the past election was probably the first time she could remember them actually having significant signage because people here usually go door to door and attend the forum.

It is unknown at this time whether all of the current council members will continue to run, but there is at least one open position left vacant after councillor Tanis Henderson resigned from council in early 2020.

McAuley said the ECACS and BTPS School Board elections would coincide once again for anyone looking to become a trustee.

McAuley does intend on running for Mayor again, but the Town has received no official nomination submissions so far.

“I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve had a lot of residents reach out to me, and there are some opportunities I would like to see through – like seeing SL4 in our community,” said McAuley.

“There are opportunities and if someone wants to put their name forward, the extended nomination period lets people know early on. Hopefully it will garner a bit of interest — getting the public interested in voting,” said McAuley.

When examining what qualities make a good candidate, Rogers said first and foremost it takes a love of the community, and that nominees should have a fairly broad sense of the community and what the issues are.

McAuley said that it is going to be challenging, and nominees should be willing to learn about all of the things that are involved in a municipality because they might sit on those boards.

For those interested in running, nomination packages are available at the Town Office. Rogers noted the importance of reading the information in the package, and McAuley said that nominees each need five signatures. To find out about the commitment level, questions can be directed towards Rogers who is applying to be the returning officer.

“Some municipalities have a cost we agreed we really want to ensure that people are free to put their name forward so the Town of Vermilion has waived the nomination deposit,” said McAuley.

In a typical election year, the returning officer would hold an information session but they said due to it being a pandemic year, they will likely be hosting something via Zoom in April or May to share general guidance and information.

“I’m excited to see who is interested in continuing to make our community strong for the future,” said McAuley.

“I’m happy to answer questions and hoping we have a great slate of candidates who want to move our community forward. We’ve had some great councils over the years, and the community always makes the best decision.”

Rogers said they encourage people to stay safe and follow their website http://vermilion.ca/ and social media pages @TownofVermilion as they continue to provide updates as as the year progresses.

For more information you can email George Rogers at [email protected] or call 780-853-5358.

Nominations are open also in Bonnyville, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Elk Point, Vermilion River County, M.D. of Bonnyville, County of St. Paul, Lac La Biche County.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect after leaving traditional newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.