Sylvan Lake’s mayor race has taken yet another unexpected turn.
Matt Prete, who announced he was after the town’s top elected job in May, has decided to set his sights on running for one of six council seats instead.
Earlier this month, Coun. Dale Plante likewise changed his mind on running for mayor, instead throwing his support behind fellow Coun. Sean McIntyre, who had recently announced his run for mayor. Plante will seek a second term as councillor.
McIntyre’s decision to run also inspired Prete’s change of heart, he said on Thursday.
“His platform, from what I can see, is essentially the same as mine,” said Prete, 46, who has lived in Sylvan Lake for seven years.
“It doesn’t make sense for both of us to run on the same platform,” said the general manager for Eckville-based Blindman Valley Propane.
“That raises the possibility that we split the vote and (incumbent Mayor Susan Samson) wins without a majority vote.
“I just thought me staying in the race muddies the waters.”
By stepping out of the race, whoever wins — assuming no one else steps forward on nomination day — will have a clear mandate from voters, he added.
To Prete’s mind, Samson represents the status quo and McIntyre brings a fresh direction.
Prete believes McIntyre is a good candidate and they have both campaigned on a need for more public engagement and communication with residents. The pair also share concerns about design guidelines for the lakeshore area that they say are too restrictive and hinder growth.
The pre-vote manoeuvering will make for an interesting election race in Sylvan Lake. Mayoral candidates will have a chance to share their visions at a debate scheduled for Oct. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre. A council forum is set for Oct. 11 at the community centre from 7 to 9 p.m.