Turner Valley voters elect new mayor
Election 2017: Four new councillors, two incumbents on council for term
Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017 01:28 pm
The results of Turner Valley’s municipal election is evidence taxpayers are ready for change after voters selected a new mayor and four new councillors.
According to the unofficial results, Gary Rowntree won the mayor’s race with 72 per cent of the votes. He received 745 votes, followed by incumbent Kelly Tuck with 229 and Cheryle Dobbyn with 57.
“It certainly gets the message out that the people, they wanted a change,” said Rowntree. “I’m actually humbled by it, absolutely humbled by it.”
The community of just over 2,200 people saw 1,034 voters head to the polls.
“We had a heck of a turnout here,” Rowntree said. “That’s pretty incredible for a town this size. That certainly told us that people were looking for a change.”
Chosen for council were Cindy Holladay (with 731 votes), Barry Crane (708), Garry Raab (651), Lana Hamilton (589), incumbent John Waring (466) and Jonathan Gordon (457).
Rowntree said he’s not surprised to see a mostly new council in Turner Valley.
“We heard it at most doors that they were concerned about the spending in the municipality,” he said. “They couldn’t understand the reasoning for a lot of it, especially on the heavy equipment side and this sort of thing so it’s a number of things that we have to have a look at. The other part is the water and sewer rates. That resonated very clearly. Those will be looked as well.”
The new mayor attributes his success to the hard work of his campaign team and the three forums held for candidates over the past several weeks.
“I think the message got out clearly at the three forums what the concerns are and also on Thursday night I had a meet and greet for the residents where they had an opportunity to come and talk to us,” he said. “There was a number of the candidates for council that also showed up so it was our turn to listen. I understand we had about 120 that came through the door that night. I know that also boded well for openness that this next council will have.”
Rowntree sees the new council as a diversified group with different skill sets which he said can be a real benefit to the town.
“I’m looking forward to working with them all,” he said. “I will try to assemble them informally in the next few days so we can introduce ourselves again to each other and learn more about each other and what they would like to see from their standpoint as far as move ahead and see how we can coordinate that and move ahead.”
Tuck, who served two consecutive terms as mayor, as well as from 2003-2006, said she was surprised by the results. She expected the votes for the mayoral candidates to be closer.
“The community was clear they wanted a change,” she said. “I’m okay with it. I’ve done really good things for the community and I’m proud of my tenure. I still plan to continue with volunteering and being a part of my community.”
Speaking from experience, Tuck said there’s a lot of work ahead for the new mayor and council and she wishes them success.
Among those selected for council is Holladay, who obtained the most votes from the councilor candidates. She attributes that to her campaign message.
“I was all about opening up communication, getting the culture of council moving in a more positive direction,” she said. “It really came down to the message. People just wanted to see some change and they’re trusting me to do it.”
Holladay said she canvassed about half the residences in Turner Valley, and also shared her thoughts at the three election forums and on Facebook.
She signed up for Facebook for the first time the day she put her name in for council.
“That was a real eye-opener as to how valuable that was to getting my name out,” she said.
Surprising to Holladay was that she received more votes than incumbent Barry Crane.
“Barry was the one that put the bug in my ear to run,” she said. “He was instrumental in quite a few people running. He is definitely popular so I am shocked.”
Crane isn’t surprised.
“We said Cindy is going to kick our ass,” he said. “Every door we went to they said, ‘We’re voting for Cindy.’ She’s going to be amazing. She is so intelligent. I’m so excited to work with this whole group of people. It worked out exactly like we wanted.”
The inclusive mindset of the new mayor and candidates will be crucial to council keeping an open mind, said Crane.
“We are here for the greater good and we have to keep the mindset that there is no personal attacks in council,” he said. “That is going to be a major influence in how we operate in the next four years.”