Current Mayor Evan Saugstad announced he would not be seeking a fourth term in office late last year, in part to encourage potential candidates to come forward. Saugstad said he is not surprised no one has officially declared their candidacy for the seat, given the election is still months away and a lot of consideration must go into running for the office.
“In small towns, a lot of people wait until the end to see who else is running, or to see what time they have [to serve in public office],” he said. “It can be difficult, because it is not a full time position so you have to have the right employer or be self-employed and be able to take the time to do it, so there’s a whole bunch of things people have to think about.”
Since being elected in 2002, Saugstad has served as Chetwynd’s representative to the Peace River Regional District, as chair of the South Peace Economic Development Commission, and more recently, as chair of both the board of directors and the North East Regional Advisory Committee with the Northern Development Initiative Trust.
He said regardless of how many candidates are in the race for the seat, he is not reconsidering his decision to step down at the end of this term.
Nominees for public office won’t officially declare their candidacy until the nomination period, which is a 10-day period from 46 to 36 days before the general voting day on the third Saturday in November. However, two-term district councillor Joanne Roberts said she is seriously considering a run for mayor.
“It intrigues me,” said Roberts. “I have lived in Chetwynd all of my life, and I think I’m ready to take the next step and step up to the plate.”
However, she said she has a lot to consider and will likely not make up her mind until closer to the nomination period.
Roberts currently serves as chair of the Chetwynd Spirit Committee and the Community Improvements Committee, as well as a liaison to the Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce.
Her colleague on council, Kathy Weaver, said while she will likely seek re-election as a councillor, she will not be seeking the mayor’s seat in the next term, though she said it’s an office she might be interested in pursuing in the future. Weaver said she is not aware of anybody who has publically announced they are interested in seeking to be mayor.
“There have been lots of discussions between myself and other councillors about the seat, and there has been plenty of coffee-talk discussions between myself and people in the community,” she said, “and I feel very confident that even though no one has expressed a public desire yet, there will be expressions of interest in the role of mayor.”
Weaver said she encourages anybody in Chetwynd or beyond who has an interest in running for public office to let their name stand.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to take those voices to council, and very rewarding to share in that part of the community,” she said. “I’ve been involved in an elected position for the majority of my adult life, and it’s some of the best education and some of the most rewarding times I’ve had.”
This year’s civic elections would fall on Nov. 19, putting the nomination period from Oct. 4 to 14.