High voter turnout yields close by-election results
Beiseker residents have spoken and the village has a new councillor.
The by-election, which took place on July 23, came down to four votes with Warren Wise being named the victor.
Wise received 80 votes, narrowly defeating Ken Nicholas, who received 76 votes. Melanie McCullough received 18 votes.
“Obviously it was a close election,” Wise said. “I’m hoping to see Ken run again, he’s pretty young. He’s got some great experience.”
There are about 320 eligible voters in Beiseker meaning that about 55 per cent turned up for the by-election. Mayor Courtman was pleased at the turnout, which he equated to the Village’s use of Facebook for public engagement.
“That was one of the highest voter turnouts we’ve ever had for a by-election,” Courtman said.
Nicholas said he was happy for Wise but was disappointed at his loss.
“It takes a lot of guts for people to get out there and allow society to be critical of them,” Nicholas said of the political process.
Though he has no plans to run in the next municipal election, he said he learned a lot from the experience.
“I met new people, they expressed views and concerns about the community,” Nicholas said, adding he wouldn’t have campaigned any differently.
He said council has been doing a great job and that he hopes they continue on the same course.
While Nicholas was disappointed to lose by such a slim margin, McCullough was shocked by how few votes she received.
“I did not in any way, shape or form expect to win, but I did not expect that (18 votes),” she said. “But I guess I just have to prove myself, and I will.”
She said she knew she was up against tough competition.
“I was only able to campaign for one week due to medical issues and not being (in town),” she said.
Though she won’t be able to formerly implement her ideas, McCullough said she plans to continue her efforts in the community as well as run in the next municipal election.
She has started a Beiseker brag page on Facebook to promote local business and has started researching low-income housing.
“I’m going to continue pursuing positive things in Beiseker,” she said. “How do you stop your passion for the Village? I can’t. The tap is turned on.”
McCullough said she plans to carefully research her ideas before she runs for council again.
“(I plan to) get some actual in-depth knowledge, not just have a nice idea,” she said. “I need to slow down and bounce my ideas off of people. I just go full-bore. I just can’t seem to slow down.”
McCullough said Wise will add a balanced personality to council.
“I was so impressed with him,” she said. “When he came to my door, we seemed to agree on everything, but he just had a whole lot more experience.”
Wise said Beiseker’s demographics may have given him the extra votes needed to beat Nicholas.
“Beiseker is pretty predicated on an older crowd,” he said, noting he was the oldest candidate.
“I have a feeling that may have swayed it to some degree.
Courtman said he was surprised at the results of the by-election.
“It was a very, very close election,” Courtman said.
“I personally thought the three candidates would share the vote more closely.”
Courtman welcomed Wise aboard at his first council meeting on July 24.
Courtman said council has a number of items that need to be addressed including upgrades to the sewage lagoon, the new force main, repairs to village roads and sidewalks, phase two of the main street beautification project, and the lack of a fire station.
The next municipal election will take place October 2013.