By Steve Hubrecht

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Dates are set for the Invermere by-election to fill the district’s vacant council seat.

Only just enough candidates came forward to fill all the council positions – one mayor and four councillors – during this past October’s municipal election. Consequently, all were acclaimed to their roles. But the week prior to the new council’s first meeting in early November, new councillor, Mark Topliff, stepped down for personal reasons.

Invermere council carried on as a four-person team (one mayor and three councillors) in the interim, while district staff set about preparing for a by-election. The four-person council has resulted in a few moments of minor confusion during meetings, since a motion needs a majority to pass and the four-council has been tied two-two on at least one major vote. That tie meant that the motion did not pass because it did not have a majority, and that technicality left audience members in the gallery scratching their heads, wondering what happened.

This situation will only last another couple months, with the by-election now set for March 4.

But, with only five people stepping forward to run for council in the election, has there been any expression of interest from potential candidates for the by-election?

“There has. There is one person that we spoke with today, and who expressed an interest,” said Invermere mayor, Al Miller, speaking on Tuesday, December 13. “There was another fellow two weeks ago who also expressed interest. And I’m sure there are others who may come forward as the information surrounding the dates for the nomination period and by-election becomes more broadly known. I would suggest we are going to have an election (as opposed to an acclamation).”

Nomination packages for would-be candidates will be available starting on Dec. 19. The nomination period will run for 10 days from Jan. 17 to Jan. 27. The last day to withdraw from being a candidate is February 3. The campaign period will last one month: from Feb. 4 to Mar. 4. The general voting day is Mar. 4, but there will be two advance voting opportunities (for those who cannot vote on general voting day or who simply prefer to vote early) on Feb. 22 and Mar. 2. 

The official result of the by-election will be declared on Mar. 7.