It wasn’t unanimous, but M.D. of Lesser Slave River council decided not to hold a by-election to replace the late Brian Rosche. Time and expense were two of the reasons cited.
The next general election is slated for October of 2021. Municipalities are not required to hold a by-election if a council position becomes vacant within 18 months of the next general election. That was good enough for most councillors, given – as councillor Sandra Melzer put it – “logistics, COVID, stress. I think we should wait,” she said, at council’s Sept. 23 meeting.
Councillors’ positions on the matter hadn’t change much in the two weeks since it had been first discussed, but they had refined their arguments. Councillor Darcie Acton spoke about hearing from constituents on both sides. There was a concern expressed about Division II not being fairly represented (with one fewer councillor), for example. But, “that doesn’t ring true for me,” she said, adding, “that’s not how we work here.”
Acton’s faith in council’s ability to get things done was echoed around the table. Brad Pearson’s was the only dissenting voice.
“A year is a little bit too long,” he said. “Even though it’s onerous to have a by-election.”
Council voted 5 – 1 in favour of leaving the seat vacant until the next general election.