ATHABASCA – With the deadline for nominations passing Sept. 20 at noon and becoming official 24 hours later, the Town of Athabasca, Athabasca County, the Village of Boyle and Aspen View Public Schools will all see elections Oct. 18.
In Athabasca County, six of nine divisions will see contests with Division 1 (Rochester) incumbent Dwayne Rawson seeing two challengers vying for the seat in the form of Joe Gerlach and Buster Malcolm. In Division 2 (Colinton) incumbent Dennis Willcott will face newcomer Natasha Kapitaniuk, while in Division 3 (Boyle), where long-time councillor and former reeve Doris Splane announced she is stepping down after 20 years in municipal politics, Ashtin Anderson was the only candidate to come forward and was acclaimed.
Division 4 (Southwest) will see former councillor Brian Bahry take on another newcomer, Keith Plowman, to replace Christi Bilsky, who also announced she would not be seeking re-election this year.
With long-time Division 5 (Amber Valley) councillor Kevin Haines also not seeking re-election, Tracy Holland was acclaimed, as the only candidate to come forward. In Division 6 (Wandering River), current councillor Penny Stewart will be replaced by either Gary Cromwell or Jack Dowhaluk, who both submitted their papers Monday morning.
In Division 7 (Grassland), incumbent Travais Johnson will have some competition from Kelly Chamzuk and Donnie Kravontka, while in Division 8 (Island Lake) four candidates have come forward to replace current reeve Larry Armfelt — Ryan Breckenridge, Kendra Gilbert, Chet Gilmore and Rob Minns.
And in Division 9 (North) newcomer Camille Wallach was acclaimed to the position.
Elected councillors will then vote among themselves as to who will sit in the reeve’s chair.
In the Town of Athabasca, current councillor Rob Balay is being challenged by Rob Woito for the mayor’s seat at the head of the council table, as Colleen Powell will step aside from the position she has held for one term.
There are also nine council hopefuls vying for the six other positions with incumbents Ida Edwards and Dave Pacholok hoping to be re-elected for their second terms, while challengers Michael Borody, Sara Graling, Jon LeMessurier, Roger Morrill, Loretta Prosser, Edie Yuill and Rena Zatorski also hope to woo voters to earn a seat at the table. Notably, Morrill is a former Athabasca mayor who was defeated by Powell in the 2017 election.
In Boyle, it appeared the current roster of incumbents would all be acclaimed until Monday morning when Mike Antal, Colin Derko, Pat Ferguson, Shelby Kiteley and Barb Smith were joined by former MLA Colin Piquette and former councillor Sam Assaf to compete for the five positions. The mayor will then be selected among election winners at the village’s Oct. 27 organizational meeting.
Aspen View Public Schools has also called an election for Ward 2 (North Central) where incumbent trustees Anne Karczmarczyk and Dennis MacNeil will try to retain their seats against Amber Schmidt, in the three-way race for two seats. Incumbent trustees Candy Nikipelo, April Bauer and Donna Cherniwchan were acclaimed to their seats, as were new trustees Cindy Lutz and Elohne Chizawsky.
The Athabasca Advocate will be covering all the races closely and is introducing candidates on our website, along with our friends in Westlock and Barrhead, who are covering their own races, at https://www.townandcountrytoday.com/2021-municipal-election.