Sean McIntyre scores upset in Sylvan Lake
A former Sylvan Lake councillor, Sean McIntyre, rode a tidal wave of support to the mayor’s seat in a major upset victory in Monday’s municipal election.
McIntyre picked up 1,966 votes to incumbent mayor Susan Samson’s 678. Political newcomer Melesa Starcheski was a distant third with 99 votes.
McIntyre, who was first elected as a councillor in 2010, is a lifetime resident and well-known local volunteer and the co-ordinator of the community’s annual Shake the Lake festival.
McIntyre said he was taken aback by his strong showing.
“I was absolutely blown away. I didn’t expect anything nearly as decisive,” he said.
“Job number one is going to be connecting with the new team on council and really discovering their strengths and putting those to work for the people of Sylvan Lake.”
The biggest issue facing council will be to continue to push for an urgent care centre for the community.
“We’ll be working very hard on advocating to the provincial government to see Sylvan Lake get the health care it deserves.”
McIntyre also wants to see the town improve its communications with its own staff and residents.
He recognized Samson for the amount of work she has done for the town.
“Her commitment to urgent care and lake health have benefitted everyone in the community, and for that I’m grateful.”
Incumbent mayors also lost in Bentley, where Joan Dickau was defeated by Lynda Haarstad-Petten, and in Sundre, where incumbent mayor Annette Clews lost decisively to Terry Leslie. In Lacombe, incumbent Mayor Steve Christie held off a strong challenge from former councillor Grant Creasey to hold onto his seat by a count of 1,662 votes to 1,599.
Christie said the close result “definitely doesn’t play into the hand of complacency. It shows we’ve got some work to do and get fired up and ready to go.”
Council said the town had some real momentum building prior to the election with the coming development of a new commercial area on the east side of Hwy 2A. The town is also developing industrial lots to help boost the tax base and more residential developments are planned.
He wants to see council keep that momentum going.
Creasey said he and his team waged a “valiant but disappointing” battle, but he is already thinking about four years down the road when the next municipal elections will be held.
“I’m certainly not going anywhere,” said the long-time local resident and owner of two businesses.
Olds Mayor Judy Dahl handily won her seat with 1,366. Art Baker followed with 450 votes and Shirley Schultz had 42.
In Penhold, Dennis Cooper was re-elected as mayor and the woman he defeated for the seat in the last election, Julia King, won a seat on council.
The community saw a big change on council with only Kathy Sitter running as an incumbent councillor, and who was re-elected. With the addition of King, council has a mix of experience and newcomers.
All of the new council members have been out listening to the community and he expects the next four years will be an energetic time for Penhold.
In Blackfalds, there was a rematch from the last election with Mayor Melodie Stol facing off against former mayor Wayne Tutty.
Stol won handily with 519 votes to 250. The entire six-member council was acclaimed.
In the Town of Ponoka it was a nail-biter to the end with Rick Bonnett taking the unofficial count by a single vote 960 to 959 over Doug Gill.
A recount is almost a guarantee in the town, whose long-time mayor Larry Henkelman chose not to run again.
In Rocky Mountain House, Mayor Fred Nash held on to his seat in the face of challenges from former mayor Jim Bague and Sheila Mizera.
Eckville Mayor Helen Posti, who has held the job since 1991, was once again given the seal of approval by her community for another four years. Acclaimed in 2010, Posti defeated challenger Laurie Phillips.