Five new members elected to city council, but tie vote leaves eighth member undecided for now

Thompson voters elected five new members to council Oct. 24, though who the fifth one will be is not yet determined because Chiew Chong and Andre Proulx tied for eighth spot with 1,008 votes each. 

The City of Thompson said in a press release that it will clarify with the provincial government what the process will be to determine who will get that seat. 

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Three of the four incumbent councillors seeking re-election were voted back in. Kathy Valentino received the second-most votes with 1,351.

“I look forward to being part of a new chapter for the city that’s about to be rewritten with financial changes and different leadership and new people,” said Valentino, though she wasn’t impressed by the 37.5 per cent turnout, which was better than in 2014, when about 31 per cent cast ballots, even though 278 fewer people voted this timer around. Overall, 2,785 out of 7,422 eligible voters turned out.

“I’m disappointed in how many people voted,” Valentino said. “I thought with the nice day, with social media, I thought the voter turnout would be more. That’s a disappointment to me.”

Incumbent councillors Duncan Wong and Judy Kolada were sixth and seventh with 1,037 and 1,036 respectively.

“Thank you for the people who still support me and believe me,” said Wong. “There’s hard work in front of us. We have a lot of hard decisions to make. Last time I came in, I thought I don’t have any votes at all. This time it’s a little bit different. Technically I’ve been campaigning for the last four years so people know what I stand for. I believe people still want someone that has a little bit of experience to carry the weight moving forward. It’s going to be interesting, a lot of new faces. Some of them I know personally. Hopefully we can separate the personal and politics and do what’s best for Thompson.”

Blake Ellis was the only incumbent councillor who was not re-elected, finishing 10th with 885 votes.

Former United Steelworkers Local 6166 president Les Ellsworth received the most votes among all 20 council candidates, with 1,484.

“I worked hard in this campaign and the people that asked me to run, they certainly came out to vote,” Ellsworth said. “I’m glad to be a part of council. I thank the good Lord, my family, all those that helped and especially the taxpayers today. They made a wise choice in many that were elected and I’m looking forward to the hard work that’s ahead of us.”

Jeff Fountain was third with 1,244 votes, followed by Brian Lundmark with 1,222 and Northern Inn & Steakhouse owner Earl Colbourne fifth with 1,087 votes.

“I think there’s a council that can work together,” said Lundmark. “I can’t wait to get together with them and start putting together what we’re going to do for the next four years. I hope we can really get us turned in the right direction. I’ll celebrate with the people that helped me and my wife and some fellow councillors and then get back at it.”

“I think we got a good crew elected,” said Colbourne, who admitted to being a little bit nervous watching the results come in at first. “After I saw the advance poll I was in ninth. I’m very pleased. Hopefully I can do what I need to do to help the city survive.”

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