SYLVAN LAKE — Incumbent Susan Samson came out on top in the showdown for mayor of Sylvan Lake in Monday’s municipal election.
Samson battled former mayors Bryan Lambertson and Ted Iverson for the top job. She won with an unofficial count of 1,196 votes, or 51 per cent of the vote.
Samson, 54, just finished her first term as mayor. She previously served on council during the mid-1980s when Iverson was mayor.
Iverson, 57, served three terms as mayor and another three on council. Lambertson, 67, was elected to council in a byelection in 1999 and then ran successfully for mayor in 2001, serving two terms before stepping aside during the 2007 election, when Samson took the helm.
Samson said the other mayoral candidates ran strong campaigns and she was nervous on the campaign trail.
Now she’s looking forward to continuing work on unfinished business and new projects, including protecting the water quality of Sylvan Lake.
“Now more than ever, the pressure on our lake is great. We have the most to lose,” said Samson after the votes were announced to candidates, family and well-wishers at Sam’s Restaurant and Lounge.
Five new candidates were elected to town council, along with one incumbent.
Sean McIntyre, Graham Parsons, Laverne Asselstine, Dale Plante and Rick Grimson will join incumbent Ken MacVicar.
Twelve people ran for council, including three incumbents. Incumbents Frank Peck and Lynda Sills Fiedler were defeated. Full vote results were unavailable at press time.
With so many new councillors elected, Samson said there is plenty of work for them to do.
The challenge is to “jell quickly as a team and move forward into a 2011 budget,” she said.
Several issues captured citizens’ attention during the election, including spending priorities, the dismissal last summer of CAO Helen Dietz, development along Lakeshore Drive, directions taken with business and tourism, location and construction of key recreational facilities, expansion of the town office and ideas for creating an emergency medical centre.
There was also a perception that the current council conducted too much of its business behind closed doors.
Lambertson said at 31 per cent voter turnout, the election “hit the mark,” although it would have been nicer if more citizens voted.
“It caused a lot of interest. It caused a lot of discussion,” said Lambertson, who was glad he ran.
Monday’s election saw 2,355 registered voters at the polls, which was 689 more than the last municipal election.
MacVicar said he felt bad for incumbent candidates who didn’t make it but voters decided it was time for a change.
“I’m kind of looking forward to seeing those new faces and a little more enthusiasm. It will be fun,” MacVicar said.