Slave Lake’s town council has a full complement of councillors, after Andrew Achoba got elected in the Nov. 28 byelection. He hit the ground running one week after getting elected, at council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Achoba won handily, by a margin of 110 votes. Coming second was Ronnie Lukan, with Craig Hudson trailing.
Here’s how it turned out:
Andrew Achoba – 247 votes
Ronnie Lukan – 137 votes
Craig Hudson – 75 votes
Achoba’s was the most visible and energetic of the three campaigns and it seems to have paid off. For example, he and his helpers handed out, or otherwise distributed, about 4,000 brochures detailing his ‘Vision for Slave Lake,’ and did a lot of door-knocking.
“I had a fantastic team,” Achoba says, mentioning in particular Edith Mackenzie, Pat Potvin and his parents. Every corner of town was visited, he says.
The spot on council opened up when long-time Councllor Julie Brandle resigned in early September. Brandle followed former Mayor Tyler Warman onto the sidelines; he resigned in late January of this year, about 15 months after being elected for the third time. Brandle and Warman both cited the difficulty of balancing their council duties with their increased workload at their regular jobs – which in both cases involves running a business or businesses.
Achoba joins Mayor Frankie Ward – who replaced Warman in a byelection this past March – and councillors Bryce Ferguson, Steve Adams, Kimberly Hughes, Shawn Gramlich and Ali Mouallem.
“I am happy to have a full council team back to fill out our committee appointments and get work done following our council’s strategic plan,” says Mayor Ward. “Thank you to all who ran; it’s no small feat putting your name forward for municipal council, and I applaud the effort and time commitment.”
Asked about how he would handle his council duties on top of his other obligations, Achoba says his employer is on board with it and willing “to provide extra flexibility.” But regardless, he says, he plans to put in the work, “to make sure my time is spent in a way that will honour the people who voted for me – and the ones who didn’t.”
Diversity and inclusion are important concepts for Achoba, which he emphasized in his campaign. He thinks it’s important for the town to make all people feel more welcome.
“I’ve seen the social need and I can’t just be quiet and hope somebody else addresses it,” he told The Leader in a campaign interview a few weeks ago. “I always try to be involved and help.”
Achoba is the program manager for WJS, a firm that provides social services under contract to the provincial government. His job entails the supervision of programs, such as for people with FASD and family supports, for clients in Slave Lake, Wabasca and Peace River.
Achoba spent a couple of years on the Slave Lake Homeless Coalition, as treasurer, co-chair and lastly as chair. He is 35 years old, is married and has a daughter.
Achoba was to be sworn in at the Dec. 5 council meeting.