Challenger Larry Fynn – who sat on council since the beginning of this year – defeated incumbent Lyman Clark – who had served as both mayor and as a councillor since 2005 – by a margin of 105 to 37 votes to become Pouce Coupe’s new mayor. Fynn said he was pleased with the turnout and the result, and a little surprised by the wide margin of victory, but he attributes the success of his campaign at least in part to having deep roots in the community, having lived in the Peace region all of his life.
“I know most of the people in Pouce Coupe and we (he and his wife) have a history here, so that may have had something to do with it,” he said.
The mayor-elect admits he has a lot to learn, but he said being retired, he now has the time to learn those things, adding he will also rely on the expertise of staff and the input of his colleagues on council to ensure things proceed smoothly.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge, as it will be a learning curve for me, but this community is in very good shape,” said Fynn. “This last administration and council have left us with a good infrastructure. Probably our two major concerns are expansion of subdivisions and upgrading roads, but as far as our public works – the fire hall, water supply, sewers and village hall – all of that is in good shape. The Village of Pouce Coupe is sitting in a very envious position, I think, compared to most communities in this area.”
However, he said his direction for the village will include streamlining building bylaws to make it easier for expansion and development to take place in the village, though he said developers will have took after their own infrastructure needs by way of development cost charges. He added he will also look to ensure decisions made by council are implemented in a timely manner.
“I think my concern is to move forward with decisions that are made at council and take action as soon as possible. Sometimes we tend to make decisions but not move forward. I believe if we make a decision, let’s move forward, get it done and do it to the best of our ability.”
Fynn added he is excited to have such a diverse blend of demographics and experiences joining him on council.
“I think it’s a great blend to be quite honest, and I look forward to working with all of them. I think our intentions are all pretty similar, so things will move forward.”
Three newcomers will be joining him on council – Gerta Kut, Colleen Evans and Jonathan Simmons – as well as incumbent Red Merrick. Gerta Kut is the wife of the late former councillor, Peter Kut, but she said she never really shared her husband’s interest in politics. She said she got into the race after being approached by members of the community to run because she felt it was important to have an election, rather than an acclamation, of council, and because she does have an interest in what is going on in Pouce Coupe,
“It will be quite a learning curve for me,” said Kut. “I will certainly give it my all. I have lots of time now to sit in the evenings and study everything and get familiarized with what’s going on.”
She said she is glad to have some newcomers join her on council – especially two younger councillors in Evans and Simmons – who she can learn alongside with. She said they share many of the same priorities including improving road infrastructure, updating building codes, expanding development and improving pedestrian safety in high-traffic areas and on crosswalks.
She said her own specific priorities include maintaining and upgrading the Peace River Haven Care Home, and looking at inexpensive transportation options for residents who need to commute back and forth between the village and Dawson Creek but do not have their own means to do so.
The last meeting of the current council takes place tonight at the Village Office before the new mayor and councillors are sworn in and meet for their first regular meeting in two weeks.