Friday, November 20, 2015

Change in Lax Kw'alaams! Garry Reece defeated, as John Helin elected to office as new Mayor

When North Coast leaders next get together for their regular Community to Community sessions, there will be a new face at the table to represent the people of Lax Kw'alaams.

After a full day of voting on Thursday, the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council released the results of balloting on Friday evening, a count which saw Mr. John Helin claim the Mayoralty, receiving 353 votes defeating incumbent Garry Reece, who registered a vote count of 274.

That number for the incumbent actually dropped Mr. Reece down to third place as Carl Sampson Jr., also edged the the Mayor in the count by 26 votes, receiving 300 votes when the results were released.

Rounding out the vote count of the four candidates for the top position was Robert Moraes who received 99 votes.

Garry Reece went down to defeat
in the Lax Kw'alaams election
on Thursday, as voters elected
John Helin Mayor of the community
The final numbers from the Thursday election were released at 5:38 on Friday evening.

John Helin -- 353
Gary Sampson Jr. -- 300
Garry Reece -- 274
Bob Moraes -- 99

The large pool of candidates for the top position in the community clearly worked against Mr. Reece, who saw much of his past support slip away, with much of it appearing to drift in the direction of the two top finishers.

As for the Band Council race, the 12 candidates who resonated the most with voters were:

Chris Sankey           -- 463 votes (incumbent)
Geraldine Alexcee   -- 431  votes (incumbent)
Kelly Sampson        -- 391 votes
Ted White                -- 354  votes (incumbent)
Braden Dudoward   -- 351 votes
Russell Mather Jr.   -- 349  votes (incumbent)
Stanley Dennis Jr.   -- 337  votes (incumbent)
Helen Johnson         -- 307  votes (incumbent)
Barbara Henry        -- 294 votes (incumbent)
Angela Green          --  283 votes
Sherrie Haldane      --  278  votes
Harvey Russell Jr.   --  270 votes

Seven of those elected on Thursday will be returning Councillors as Chris Sankey, Geraldine Alexcee, Ted White, Russell Mather Jr., Stanley Dennis Jr, Helen Johnson and Barbara Henry all remained popular with the voters and will return from the previous council.

The remaining five of the twelve will be providing a new look and some fresh ideas for the Council chamber from the last time that voters went to the polls.

Lax Kw'alaams electors had 40 candidates to choose from in yesterdays Council balloting.

In the School Board election, Elaine Miller was declared a winner by Acclamation.

The election campaign which was officially only six weeks or so in length, started in reality earlier this year as a number of Lax Kw'alaams residents began to show some of their discontent at some of the decisions and developments that had been taking place with Council and in the community.

The return of Mayor Reece through a federal court ruling, that after he had been removed by the Band, provided for some of the underlying themes in the community and into the campaign.

Beyond that controversy, there were issues related to jobs, fishing and a desire by some in the community to explore the prospect of an oil terminal project for Grassy Point, the Eagle Spirit Energy proposal.

Then came the summer and the still developing events related to Lelu Island, with Lax Kw'alaams residents showing strong opposition to the proposed Pacific NorthWest development in that region, owing to their concerns over the Flora Bank area and what they believe will be a detrimental effect on their fishery.

Many of those issues will remain a key discussion point for Mr. Helin as he takes office, with the new Council perhaps taking note of the vote tally as an indication of some discontent with how events played out over the last few years.

You can review the full Vote listings from this information release from the Lax Kw'alaams Band.

For some background on past issues in the community north of Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

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