BONNYVILLE – Moving forward, the Town of Bonnyville council will look quite different from previous years.
Elected to council are five new town residents turned politicians, along with former Coun. Elisa Brosseau who has been elected as mayor, and returning incumbent Coun. Brian McEvoy.
After midnight, the Town’s Returning Officer Bill Rogers released the unofficial results of Monday’s 2021 municipal election.
With the majority of votes being cast her way, Elisa Brosseau will soon be sworn in as mayor. Coming in 609 votes behind her was mayoral candidate Duane Zaraska who received 333 votes.
Speaking with Lakeland Today, Brosseau says leading up the election she didn’t want to feel too comfortable, because it is impossible to know what the results will show come election night.
"You just don't know,” she says. “There were days when you feel good and then there are other days that you’re like ‘I'm not doing enough, I need to do more, I need to talk to more people.’ So, there was a lot of ups and downs, and every day was different.”
Right to the bitter end, Brosseau says she wasn’t confident in how the election results would play out.
“When the numbers did come in, it was a big sigh of relief and then a whole lot of excitement. Now this morning, it's like, ‘Okay, time to get to work!’”
Getting down to business, Brosseau says with several new councillors set to fill the Town’s council table, it will be a top priority to get everyone on the same page.
“We do have a fairly new council. So, it's going to be all about getting to know each other and getting to know what the next four years are going to be like working together. How does that team look like? What are some of those visions that maybe individuals want to see? But also, what is the grand vision of the team itself,” she explains.
With McEvoy returning to council with her, she says the two will be able to bring a little bit of history and background to the council table.
“I think that's going to be really important right off the bat — to solidify that team approach,” she says, adding that once there is a team vision outlining the next four years it will be important to connect to other newly elected municipal leaders.
Going forward, it will be equally important to figure out how Town council will start building relationships with surrounding municipalities.
Feeling confident about the years ahead, she adds, “I think we have a really great mix of returning and new councillors at the table and I think it's going to be a great team that wants to go out there and make some decisions and get things done. So, I'm really excited for the next four years on this new council.”
On the topic of voter turnout, Brosseau says, “It's unfortunate that there is a low voter turnout at the municipal level. I think people should be more engaged, but I think that's just the way it's always been and I'm not really surprised by it.”
Out of 4,375 eligible voters residing in the Town of Bonnyville, only 29 per cent of ratepayers turned out to vote in the municipal election. Voting on election day, through special ballots and advanced polls, only 1,275 residents casted a vote in the 2021 municipal election for the town.
The six councillors likely to be sworn in to council following the official results include Kayla Blanchette, Byron Johnson, David Sharun, Phil Kushnir, McEvoy and Neil Langridge.
Garnishing the most votes was Blanchette and Johnson, who both received 627 votes.
Sharun received 621, followed by Kushnir with 516 votes.
Re-elected with 487 votes is McEvoy.
The final councillor slated to join the Town of Bonnyville council is Langridge, who received 475 votes.
Not returning to his seat on council is incumbent Coun. Chad Colbourne, who received 371 votes.
Darcy Zelisko came close to gaining a seat on council with 402 votes, followed by Bryan Krawchuk who had 355 votes.
Trevor Makaruk pulled in 274 votes and Zak Eddamni received 259 votes. Michael Morris received 208 and James Dale got 175 votes.
Ballot break down
Mayor Elisa Brosseau - 942
Mayor Duane Zaraska - 333
Kayla Blanchette - 627
Byron Johnson - 627
David Sharun - 621
Phil Kushnir - 516
Brian McEvoy - 487
Neil Langridge - 475
Darcy Zelisko - 402
Chad Colbourne - 371
Bryan Krawchuk - 355
Trevor Makaruk - 274
Zak Eddamni - 259
Michael Morris - 208
James Dale - 175