John Buckley has won the by-election in Harrison Hot Springs, and will be sworn in as a councillor on June 4.
“I had a good feeling going right through the election, and received a lot of positive feedback from people,” he said. “But you just never know until the votes are counted.”
Buckley plans on meeting with current council to learn more about what issues they are dealing with.
“I hope I bring a positive outlook to council, and to the Village,” he said.
Politics are not new to Buckley, who served as a councillor and deputy mayor in the small town of Spring Lake, Alberta prior to moving to Harrison a few years ago with his wife, Karen.
Nine candidates were vying for the position of councillor. The seat was left vacant after a Supreme Court judge ruled that Richard Shelley was not eligible to run for council, shortly after he won the November civic election.
His candidacy was challenged by Andrew Baziuk, who also ran in the November election, due to Shelley’s role as a firefighter within the Village. Firefighters receive a small amount of pay and compensation benefits from the Village, and Shelley did not request his pay be withheld prior to filing his papers. He did so after he was elected, but that wasn’t enough for the court to allow him to keep his seat.
Shelley and Baziuk both ran in this by-election. Other candidates were former mayor John Allen, Arnold Caruk, Leslie Ghezesan, former councillor Bob Perry, Andreas Sartori and Marc Ferrero.
The by-election was held May 12 at the Harrison Hot Springs elementary school and polls closed at 8 p.m. sharp. Allen left the school’s gymnasium at about 8:25 p.m. to announce that Buckley had won the by-election with 178 votes. Allen received the second most votes, with 146 and Shelley received the third most, with 66. The rest of the candidates each received fewer than 40 votes.
While the numbers are small, of an estimated 1,179 voters in the Village, about 42 per cent voted.
In total, 512 residents voted. One-hundred sixty-three people took advantage of advance and mail-in polls, and 349 voted in person on Saturday.