Terrace council welcomes two new faces

In regional district elections three board directors lose their seats

All four councillors running for re-election will be returning to city hall alongside two new first-time councillors.

Only 1,485 people out of an eligible pool of 8,359 – 17.77 per cent – cast their vote in Terrace on Oct. 20.

Sean Bujtas came out ahead with 79 per cent of the vote at 1,113, followed by James Cordeiro with 996 ballots. Lynn Christiansen came third with 990 votes, followed by Evan Ramsay at 965, incumbent Brian Downie at 945, and Jessica McCallum-Miller with 883 votes.

One of the newcomers to council, McCallum-Miller, may be the first Indigenous councillor in Terrace’s history, and at 24-years-old she may also be the city’s youngest, according to city clerk Alisa Thompson.

McCallum-Miller has served as Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine Area C for the last four years and first ran for council in 2014 at the age of 21. She is also an acting member of the New Mills Memorial Hospital Redevelopment Committee and a recent Terrace & District Community Services Society board member.

With this election cycle now over, she said she’s ready to transition from her role as regional director to her new position at city hall, taking on issues like bringing a treatment centre into Terrace and introducing environmentally sustainable initiatives.

“The campaign season was really long and grueling, and I’m just glad we can move on with all the good work that needs to be done,” she said. “I know that the prior four members are pretty well seasoned with everything, so we should learn quite a bit from them. And with having two new voices, the rest of council can learn a few things from its younger members.”

Councilor-elect Ramsay said he felt relieved when he heard he won council’s fourth seat, and said he already has some fresh ideas for council. He also echoed the need for a treatment and detox centre in Terrace, and said he wants to focus on maximizing infrastructure growth to prepare for the construction years ahead of the LNG’s development in Kitimat.

Mayor Carol Leclerc, who won her second term by acclamation, said she is looking forward to working with the new council over the next four years on a number of key issues.

“The Resource Benefit Alliance and the Skeena Industrial Development Park. We’ve had a number of studies done to make sure we have the proper documentation in place as grant money becomes available,” Leclerc said. “And getting through LNG, whatever the impacts on our city are going to be.”

Voter turnout this year was also on the mayor’s mind coming out of election night. Only 17 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots in Terrace, down by half in comparison to 2014’s 30 per cent turnout.

“It was really low, really sad to see,” Leclerc said. “This is people’s opportunity to set the direction… if we had 70 per cent turnout, it could have been the same results. It’s just the fact that people are honouring the democratic process that people went to war to fight for, and it’s something that we should not take for granted.”

The city’s new council will be officially sworn in next month on Nov. 5.

Regional District of Kitimat Stikine

In the district, election voters chose new directors in all but two areas that weren’t acclaimed. In Thornhill, Area E, Jeff Hammond unseated Ted Ramsey. Dean Paranich won over the incumbent, Linda Pierre in Area B (Hazeltons Rural Areas, Kispiox Valley, Moricetown through Cedarvale). And in Electoral Area A (Nass Valley, Meziadin) Eric Nyce took a strong lead over Harry Nyce.

Electoral Area C (rural Terrac) incumbent Bruce Bidgood won his race against Martin Holzbauer in an extremely close count of 126 to 124 votes. The difference prompted a recount which was completed Oct. 23.

School board trustees

In the school board election for Terrace trustees, incumbents Margaret Warcup and Art Erasmus have beat out challenger Peter Lambright for the two available seats. In Thornhill, incumbent Sandy Watson has defeated Lorrie Gowen.

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