Four new faces on city council

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Majority female council elected

Two incumbents and four new councillors have been elected to St. Albert city council to serve alongside mayor-elect Cathy Heron.

Incumbents Wes Brodhead and Sheena Hughes secured their re-election, while Jacquie Hansen, Natalie Joly, Ray Watkins and Ken MacKay have been newly elected to council.

Brodhead won more votes than any other council candidate, with 8,900 residents casting ballots in favour of him. Hansen was close on his heels with 8,479 votes.

Hughes received 7,642 votes; Joly received 7,446 votes; Watkins received 7,440 votes; and MacKay received 6,777 votes.

Bob Russell was the only incumbent who did not win his seat back. He finished in thirteenth place with 4,083 votes.

The total votes cast numbered 21,631.

Results came just before 10:30 p.m. on Monday night after polls closed at 8 p.m. Some of the 25 candidates who ran for council waited for the results at various election parties, while others took to the streets to get a head start on taking down their signs.

Hughes joined mayoral candidate Cam MacKay at the Celtic Knot to await the results. Amid congratulations from supporters, she expressed gratitude toward the people who voted for her.

“I appreciate knowing that they appreciated the job I was doing,” she told the Gazette.

Now, she says, there’s a lot of work to do before the new council gets sworn in on Oct. 30. It starts with taking down signs and beginning orientation.

“It’s a matter of just getting things going for the next council,” she said.

She added she’s looking forward to seeing how orientation has improved since the last election.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they provide as training this time for the councillors,” she said.

Wes Brodhead celebrated winning a third term at Heron’s campaign party and said that the win was “gratifying and humbling.”

“It’s very gratifying to be supported by the community and acknowledged for the work that you’ve done,” Brodhead said.

Brodhead said that he felt good about the council that was chosen by the community and said that he thinks the group can get behind Heron to “get the job done.”

Hansen also celebrated her win at Heron’s campaign party and said that she is “elated and thrilled” with the diverse new council.

“I think there is going to be good debate but an opportunity to move forward,” Hansen said.

She said that her first priorities are to address council processes and make sure the entire group is starting on the same foot.

Hansen said that she wants to look at things like the size of the agenda packages and understanding the council code of conduct so council can remain “high level and not get into the weeds.”

Ken MacKay was another one of the many candidates who celebrated the evening at the casino with Heron.

“It is really humbling. It’s unbelievable when you put your name forward like that and you get this level of acceptance,” he said.

Ken MacKay said that over the next few weeks he will be focused on getting up to speed in orientation but said his biggest priority is creating good relationships with his council peers.

Watkins spent the evening picking up signs before dropping by Heron’s election party after results came in.

“I am so happy and I am humbled. I am truly humbled that the people have chosen me,” Watkins said when asked for his reaction to winning.

“I’m excited to work with these people. I think it’s going to be a great council and we’re going to have an amazing time, and we’re going to move the city forward in a positive direction.”

He said the next few weeks before swearing-in will be devoted to working on how he can implement his platform.

Joly also arrived at Heron’s party after the results were public and said that she was “excited” to be elected.

She said that she was looking to getting her election signs down and getting to know the new council better.

“It’s a nice diverse group and it kind of shows that everybody is looking at moving forward,” Joly said.

This is the third time that St. Albert will have a female-dominant council demographic. In 1992, Anita Ratchinsky was chosen as mayor and three of her six council colleagues were women. The foursome was re-elected for another term together in 1995.

The new council will have a busy time following Monday’s polls. Orientation will be first on the agenda and generally includes sessions on municipal governance, legal and legislative matters, corporate planning and finance, divisional overviews and key initiatives and plans.

After their swearing-in on Oct. 30, the new council will dive into budget sessions. Budget deliberations run throughout November.

RESULTS

St. Albert Mayor: Cathy Heron 10,714 votes, Cam MacKay 6,840 votes, Malcolm Parker 3,905 votes.

City Council: Wes Brodhead, 8,900. Jacquie Hansen, 8,479. Sheena Hughes, 7,642. Natalie Joly, 7,446. Ray Watkins, 7,440. Ken MacKay, 6,777. Allan Bohachyk, 6,603. Jan Butler, 6,599. Tash Taylor, 6,571. Mark Cassidy, 5,489. Charlene Jelinski, 4,936. Steve Stone, 4,830. Bob Russell, 4,083. Gilbert Cantin, 3,723. Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon, 3,192. Hannes Rudolph, 3,099. Craig Cameron, 2,845. Jaye Walter, 2,730. Barry Zukewich, 2,496. Ufuoma Odebala-Fregene, 2,283. Mark Kay, 1,900. Nestor Petriw, 1,708. Leonard Wilkins, 1,566. Jacy Eberlein, 1,303. Shayne Kawalilak, 1,125 .

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St. Albert Gazette reporters Jennifer Henderson and April Hudson team up to bring you extensive coverage on important community topics.