By Laura Keil
Valemount mayor and council will be sworn in by acclamation this year, after only one person put forward their name for the office of mayor and only two put forward their names for four councillor positions.
Incumbent Owen Torgerson is running again for Mayor. Incumbent councillors Hollie Blanchette and Pete Pearson are pursuing another four-year term. Existing councillors Sheri Gee and Donnie MacLean have opted to step down. No one else put their names forward.
The Village of Valemount extended the nomination papers deadline from Fri. Sept. 9th until Mon. Sept. 12th, however, the short extension did not attract any candidates.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs told the Goat that if there are fewer candidates than positions to be filled for an elected office after the nomination period, the nomination period is automatically extended until Sept. 12 at 4 p.m.
“If there are still not enough candidates by that time, the local government must appoint a person to each vacant office within the first 30 days after the first meeting of the local government,” said Aaron Hinks, Ministry spokesperson.
If a local government fails to make an appointment required by the Local Government Act, or if there is no quorum, the Minister of Municipal Affairs would then appoint someone to each vacant office.
The Local Government Act says anyone appointed to local government would still have the same powers, duties and rights as anyone elected, and would have to meet the same criteria. To run for local office, you must be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older, be a BC resident for a minimum of 6 months before filing nomination papers, and not be disqualified from running for office for any legal reason.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs says it has connected with village staff to clarify the next steps and offer support as needed. The Ministry did not clarify by presstime how the appointing process works, other than to say Council would have to agree on who to appoint.
Valemount Chief Election Officer Carleena Shepherd says the Declaration Appointment by Acclamation will take place Sept. 19 at 4 PM, to allow time for potential challenges to the three existing nominations. The deadline to challenge a nomination is Sept. 13th at 4pm. The date of the local election would have been Oct 15th, 2022.
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George Area H incumbent Dannielle Alan and School District Trustee Area 3 – Robson Valley incumbent Bob Thompson are slated to be elected by acclamation.