COLD LAKE – In numbers higher than the last two municipal elections, Cold Lake residents showed up to cast ballots for six municipal councillors to represent them for the next four years on the City of Cold Lake’s council.
With Craig Copeland being unopposed in his bid for mayor and returning to his seat through acclamation, voters who turned up at the polls for the 2021 municipal election had four things to decide.
When ballots were finished being counted late in the evening of Oct. 18, the top six candidates earning a seat on council were Bob Mattice, who earned the most votes with 1,725, followed by incumbent Chris Vining with 1,382, incumbent Vicky Lefebvre with 1,191, Adele Richardson with 1,039, Ryan Bailey with 1,027 and Bill Parker with 1,017.
In a field of 14 candidates vying for a spot on council, only two of the three incumbents seeking re-election were successful in holding on to their council seats.
Unsuccessful in their election bid were Ryan Lefebvre with 988 votes, incumbent Bob Buckle with 834 votes, Rhea McMillan with 813, Murray Gauthier with 800 votes, Hussein Elkadri with 760 votes, Debra Pelechosky with 633, Larry Ashcroft with 600 votes and Sara Fewchuk with 558 votes.
Five-time returning mayor
Beginning his fifth term as mayor, Copeland tells Lakeland This Week he is thankful to be returning to his role as mayor and appreciates the citizens’ support.
Reflecting on the election that did not require his name to be added to the ballot, Copeland says, “The election was great in the fact that we had so many people running for council, it was great to see people willing to step forward. The community voted in the six candidates, and it looks like we're going to have a strong council, and I think, a council with diverse backgrounds.”
He adds, “The community has spoken and these are the people that they want to move the community forward. I’m pretty excited to work with them.”
In the following weeks, Copeland says the new council will take it slow in order to train new councillors.
“They have about three to four weeks of solid engagements, of meetings and site tours,” explains Copeland. “What the most important thing is, is getting training and then passing the city budget by the second Tuesday of December so the staff have a budget, both on the operating side and capital side to move forward into 2022.”
Smiling he adds, “A drink from a firehose, it's always called, when you first get elected.”
From pharmacists to councillor
Garnishing the most public support and votes in his bid for Cold Lake councillor, Mattice says he felt quite comfortable going into the election.
"I've been around Cold Lake for 33 years and a public figure being a business owner and a pharmacist. I was quite comfortable about obtaining a seat on council, but I thought I'd better just make sure and I put together a fairly extensive campaign. I did some different approaches just to make sure, and I worked pretty hard to get in, but I'm still very gratified with the results that I got.”
Running for a publicly elected position for the first time, Mattice was both happy and humbled when the results were release showing that he had received 1,725 votes.
After selling a business in 2020 that he and his wife had operated for the last 32 years, and where he continues to work as a pharmacist, Mattice felt that now was the right time to run for council – something he has always wanted to do.
"I just looked at people in the past and said, ‘Those guys are doing good stuff in the community,’ and I always wanted to do that. So, when we sold our store, I felt I could now. I still work at my store, but we have other management that do the stuff that I used to have to do, so now I have the time to do it,” he tells Lakeland This Week.
Mattice says he will continue working as a pharmacist but will reduce his hours to accommodate both positions. Hearing some concerns from his customers, Mattice says “I love being a pharmacist, too. So, I'm not be abandoning anybody for council.”
Before deciding to run, Mattice did his homework. He spoke with outgoing councillors asking what it would be like to pull a double occupational duty. “They said you could. You just have to become very efficient, which is what my wife tells me. She (says), ‘He needs to get a little better organized.’ So, I'll strive for that.”
Jumping into council, Mattice wants to learn what the 10-year plan is for the city and how to be a good councillor.
"I have no agenda items, no nothing at all, period. I think the city is well run so I just want to continue that and improve where I see maybe my skill set can help with that. I know a lot of people, I'm a good listener and I can apply my training as a businessman and a pharmacist to the council.”
The mayor and council will be sworn in at a meeting to be held in Council Chambers at 5 p.m. on Oct. 26. This will be followed by council’s annual organizational meeting at 5:10 p.m. and then by a regular council meeting beginning at 6 p.m.
2021 Ballot Break Down
Bob Mattice – 1,725
Chris Vining – 1,382
Vicky Lefebvre – 1,191
Adele Richardson – 1,039
Ryan Bailey – 1,027
Bill Parker –1,017
Ryan Lefebvre – 988
Bob Buckle – 834
Rhea McMillan – 813
Murray Gauthier –800
Hussein Elkadri – 760
Debra Pelechosky – 633
Larry Ashcroft – 600
Sara Fewchuk – 558