Thompson voters will have seven candidates to choose from in the Oct. 13 byelection – five for the vacant seat on council and two for the one on the School District of Mystery Lake school board.
Those vying to become the eighth councillor include one – Ron Matechuk – who’s served in the position before (and run for mayor unsuccessfully three times), as well as four new candidates – Jason Bayer, Kathleen Bluesky, David Kobliski and Braden McMurdo.
The two-way school trustee race will see Riverview restaurant owner Li Cripps facing off against Bryan Young, who ran unsuccessfully for a spot on council in October 2018.
The council byelection, necessitated by the death of the longest-serving councillor Judy Kolada in April, will be the second in less than two years. Coun. Andre Proulx earned his spot on council by defeating Chiew Chong in a March 2019 byelection after the pair received the same number of votes in the October 2018 municipal election.
Thompson had a five-candidate byelection in 2009, which was won by Erin Stewart, the only one of the candidates to garner more than 200 votes. Only 7.5 per cent of registered voters cast ballots in that election, while 16 per cent did so in the spring of 2019.
For the school board, it will be the first byelection since 2011, when Janet Brady beat Julyda Lagimodiere in a two-candidate contest to fill the seat left vacant when Valerie Wilson resigned.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming forward with their name and let’s have a lot of support for the election,” said Mayor Colleen Smook during the mayor’s report at council’s Sept. 8 meetingwhen she announced the names of the candidates. “Everybody come out and vote Oct. 13.”
City manager Anthony McInnis said that precautions will be taken at the voting location on election day and during advance polls due to the COVID-19 pandemic but that people with concerns about voting in person can contact senior election official Norma Howitt for mail-in ballots.