To state the obvious, Hay River Town Council is in for some big changes.
When nominations closed on Sept. 17 for next month’s municipal elections, it became clear just how different the council will be for the next three years.
Of course, that change begins at mayor.
Coun. Kandis Jameson will be acclaimed mayor as she was the only person to seek the top job.
We congratulate her for taking on that role and we believe she has the political experience to do a very good job. Not only does she have six years of experience as a town councillor, she has many other years as a member of the Hay River District Education Authority and the South Slave Divisional Education Council.
We have had the privilege of watching the current town council in action for the past three years. (What else are you going to do on Tuesday evenings, anyway?) In that time, we have been impressed with a number of councillors who we thought could step up to be mayor. Kandis Jameson was one of them.
So we wish her the best over the next three years and we’re confident she will serve the community well.
And as we get ready to welcome a new mayor, we would be remiss without recognizing the contributions of Mayor Brad Mapes, who has decided not to seek re-election.
Sometimes we wonder where Mapes gets the time to do everything that he does – fill the role of mayor, volunteer, run a business and seek to start a whole new industry in the South Slave with his proposed wood pellet mill in Enterprise. (Not to mention taking numerous calls on weekends from The Hub for clarification about one story or another.)
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mapes cares about Hay River and was willing to contribute as mayor.
As such, he has to be thanked for that service.
But the change in mayor will be only the beginning of the reshaping of town council.
At a minimum, there will be six new people sitting on the eight-person council following the election on Oct. 15. Of course, that’s assuming that the two incumbent councillors are re-elected, which cannot be taken for granted. With nine candidates for eight seats, it’s possible that there will be seven brand-new councillors.
The fact that there will be a full council is itself news. Since the last election in 2015, it has actually been the amazing shrinking council. Three councillors have resigned for one reason or another.
It will be unusual to see no empty chairs at the council table, but a welcome sight.
The list of candidates shows a lot of promise.
Without expressing any preference for one candidate over another, they feature a wide variety of people – a former MLA, former councillors, a noted musician, younger people, not-so-young people and businesspeople. As far as we can tell, there is just one thing missing – candidates of Aboriginal heritage.
Still, we’re optimistic the new council will have potential.
Just the fact that so many new people have stepped forward is a very good thing.