Sicamous has elected a new team to council.
Unofficial results from Saturday’s election and the advanced vote show Terry Rysz as the community’s new mayor with 545 votes, beating out candidate Malcolm MacLeod by 200 votes. In the race for council, Gord Bushell received the most votes with 682. Next in line was Malcolm Makayev with 565, Todd Kyllo with 518, Jeff Mallmes with 492 and Colleen Anderson with 463. Rounding out the team is Janna Simons, who received 371 votes, a mere three votes over incumbent candidate Fred Busch. Subsequently, Busch requested a recount be done. That was completed Tuesday and the result remained the same.
Topping the polls was an unexpected surprise for Bushell, who is excited that he, and the group he campaigned with (Anderson, Kyllo, Makayev and Mallmes) have been given an opportunity to represent the community. Regarding the group, Bushell affirms they may have campaigned as a team, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be debate when they’re on the job.
“Everybody asks us, you know, are we all like-minded? But everybody has their own opinions and we each voice those too,” said Bushell. “But the common goal is to move the community forward, bring in some industry and finish up some projects that were started a long time ago. We just want what’s best for the community.”
As the only one with council experience, Rysz says he’s looking forward to the challenge of representing the community and helping the new councillors get up to speed.
“I don’t think it will take them long to get it. But bureaucracy is a little bit different than private enterprise,” said Rysz. “You’ve got regulations and bylaws and all of the rest to consider. It’s all set up so you can’t do a whole lot of corner cutting, where in the private world you can sort of do that kind of thing. That’s going to be a bit of a learning curve for the new group, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be up to speed in short order.”
The mayor-elect says one of the first discussions he and the new council will have will revolve around the hiring of a new chief administrative officer. District chief financial officer Kelly Bennett has been working double duty as interim CAO since former CAO Heidi Frank’s recent departure.
“She’s handled it very well, but in all fairness to her, she’s doing two jobs,” said Rysz. “We’re going to have to really consider how we’re going to look at this CAO thing, whether it’s a full-time CAO, part-time, or if she’s going to step up and take on the CAO position… but it is a concern right now and that will definitely be on the table right off the bat.”
While the polls closed at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sicamous residents were required to wait until the following morning to learn the unofficial election results, which were posted around 1 a.m. Sicamous Chief Elections Officer Joni L’Heureux did not return the News call before presstime, but Rysz did speak to the delay, stating election officials wanted to make sure they “got it right.”
“They had to do a recount and so it took time,” said Rysz. “But at the end of the day, I think they got it done, they got it right, and with that they have my respect. It’s that important… maybe the process could be improved on. I’m in discussion with Joni – she has to make a report to Elections BC. I feel they did a good job regardless.”
Forty per cent of Sicamous’ 2,253 eligible voters attended the polls this year. That equates to 904 voters – two more than the number of people who voted in 2011.