Sweeping change in Big Lakes County

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

One incumbent mayor and a single incumbent reeve were defeated in the region during the 2021 municipal elections Oct. 18.
Town of McLennan mayor Michele Fournier was soundly defeated, placing fifth of five candidates with only four votes. Jason Doris assumes the mayor’s chair. He received 102 of 219 votes cast, or 46.6 per cent. Incumbent councillors Terry Calliou and Dwayne Stout placed second and third with 73 and 31 votes, while Jon Buchinski received nine votes.
McLennan council have a decidedly different look. Eckhard Christen did not seek re-election so four new members will join incumbents Luc Dubrule, Sue Delaurier and Marie Anne Jones. They are Maggie Gervais, Yvonne Sawchyn and Margaret Jacob.
The biggest change will occur in Big Lakes County as seven new members will comprise the new nine-member council. Reeve Ken Matthews was defeated in his ward by Jim Zabolotniuk as were three other councillors. Two councillors, David Marx and Fern Welch, did not seek re-election. Only Robert Nygaard and Ann Stewart survived.
New councillors include Garrett Zahacy and Jeff Chalifoux, who replace Marx and Welch respectively. Roberta Grace Hunt replaces Ken Killeen in Kinuso, Lane Monteith replaces Donald Bissell in Enilda/Big Meadow, and Tyler Airth replaces Don Charrois in Banana Belt/High Prairie East. In each case, the incumbents received less than 22 per cent of the vote.
In Joussard, Richard Mifflin was elected by acclamation after Richard Simard did not seek re-election.
Most mayors were re-elected by the voters or by acclamation. Brian Panasiuk defeated challenger Barry Sharkawi 367-314 in High Prairie. As for council, four new faces will join incumbents Donna Deynaka and Judy Stenhouse, who retained their seats including John Dunn, Therese Yacyshyn, James Waikle and Sasha Martens. Incumbent Brian Gilroy was defeated, placing seventh. Council was one short after Debbie Rose resigned last year.
In Peace River, the new mayor is Elaine Manzer with 886 votes. She easily defeated Normand Boucher [496 votes] and Tom Day [492 votes]. Tom Tarpey did not seek re-election. The new council is comprised of Byron Schamehorn, Shelly Shannon, Don Good, Marc Boychuk, Brad Carr and Orren Ford.
In Falher, the council was elected by acclamation and reduced to five after all was said and done. Donna Buchinski was elected mayor from within council. Joining her are Lindsay Brown, Robert Lauze, Daniel Morin and Gautane Pizycki.
In Donnelly, all were elected by acclamation. Myrna Lanctot was also elected mayor from within. Joining her on council are Normand Boulet, Aubrey Stenhouse, Candace Waye, and Vance Yaremko. Lanctot and Stenhouse are the only returning members of council.
In Girouxville, the council was elected by acclamation. Alain Dion has been elected mayor from within and joins Kelly Elliott, Ernest Johnson, Danielle Laflamme, and Joseph Zdeb.
In Nampa, election winners were Evan Matiasiewich, Sharon Lee, Darcy Stevens, Agnes Roshuk, and Quinton Bulford. Council will elect its mayor at its organizational meeting Oct. 26.
In the M.D. of Smoky River, Paula Guindon replaces Donald Gosselin. The vote was tied 96-96 and Guindon won after her name was drawn from a hat. Gosselin was the only councillor to be defeated. Andy Trudeau, Reeve Robert Brochu, and Raoul Johnson all won. New councillors are Alain Blanchette and Gilles Roy. Donald Dumont and Luc Levesque did not seek re-election.
In Northern Sunrise County, Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba, and councillors Dan Boisvert and Corinna Williams were elected by acclamation. Newcomers are Jason Javos, and Art Laurin as Norm Duval and Audrey Gall did not seek re-election. Retaining her seat was Gaylene Whitehead as no incumbents were defeated.
High Prairie School Division saw only one election. Adrian Wong retained his seat in High Prairie and is joined by former chair Tammy Henkel, who defeated Michael Strebchuk 447-446. Elected by acclamation are Karen Scholl, Lynn Skrepnek, Lorrie Shelp, Cory Hughes and Joy McGregor.

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