The polls have closed, the votes have been counted, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has a new mayor and council.
On Monday, Lawyer Don Scott was “unofficially” named Mayor-elect after getting nearly triple the amount of votes as his nearest competitor, Allan Grandison.
Scott received 8,911 votes, while Grandison got 3,160 votes, Tony Needham finished third with 650 votes, while Allan Vinni came in with 259 votes. Mix 103.7 officially declared Scott mayor-elect shortly before 10:00 p.m. when 67 per cent of the polls were tabulated.
“I’m so grateful they put their names forward,” said Scott when asked about his competitors. “I love this community and I believe in it and a lot of times when people put their names forward they have that same belief – so I hope they continue to stay involved in public service.”
Around 150 people were at Sociables where Scott held his campaign wrap up – along with fellow Ward 1 candidates Jeff Peddle and Mike Allen.
Both men were elected along with Wood Buffalo’s longest serving councillor Phil Meagher, Krista Balsom, who later made an appearance at Sociables, Keith McGrath, and Verna Murphy.
In Ward 2, incumbent Claris Voyageur was re-elected along with John Bruce Inglis. In Ward 3, Sheila LaLonde defeated Brad Lucier by just 19 votes while Jane Stroud will be serving as Ward 4’s councillor for the third time after beating out Kevin Trembley.
Councillors Lance Bussieres and Julia Cardinal nearly found themselves back on council after finishing seventh and third in their respective Wards.
“I’m feeling very optimistic about the team that’s been elected and knowing some of those individuals, others I don’t know to well, I think people who put their name forward all have a similar commitment to getting things done,” added Scott.
When asked what he hopes to tackle first with the new council – he couldn’t point out one particular topic but did mention he wants to make the group into a great “team.”
“I want to meet with industry, I want to meet with our business stakeholders – we need to make sure that we’re driving this community forward and I really want to see results for this community and I think the voters do as well,” said Scott.
Meanwhile, at the Grandison campaign party – the mood was somber as the results came in showing Scott’s substantial lead.
An emotional Grandison was disappointed with his defeat but was proud of the effort put forth by his campaign.
“First and foremost, I want to thank my family and team,” Grandison said. “I think they worked amazingly hard, I think I tried to bring a good vision of what I had to offer and what I thought our community could do and the voters have spoken, so I have to respect it.”
He added that the most important thing for council and the residents is communication.
“Council has a responsibility to make sure it reports back to and communicates with its citizens to know how its spending their tax dollars. And also, there has to be an ability for the citizens to communicate back to council on their expectations and what is going on in their lives.”
While, Scott is ready to listen.
“I want their (voters) wishes to be reflected and I think we put out a lot of ideas that I think we can now follow through on. The next step for us is to deliver action – I don’t want us to be a council that sits around and talks about things, I want us to be a council and mayor that delivers results.”
Voter Turnout Slightly Increases
The final unofficial results showed 13,212 ballots cast by voters in Wood Buffalo which is roughly 22 per cent of eligible voters across Wood Buffalo.
When advanced polls closed on Saturday, 2,120 votes were cast in comparison to 2,819 in 2013.
However, the municipality notes there were more voting opportunities during the last election – four years ago.
A full list of election results can be found at rmwb.ca.
On Tuesday’s edition of Fort McMurray Matters – Mayor-elect Don Scott will recap his campaign, discuss the new mayor and council, and what he hopes to see done in the first 90 days in public office.
People interested in hearing Mix 103.7’s election coverage can listen below.
If you missed our live election show, you can relisten to it here: https://t.co/L28tw2FpYf
— MIX 103.7 News (@Mix1037FMNews) October 17, 2017
-with files from Brandon Piper