Preliminary results from the Lytton by-election that was held on April 30 show that Melissa Michell and Ross Urquhart are now councillors-elect for the village.
A total of 82 ballots were cast in advance, by mail, and on election day. Michell finished with 71 votes, while Urquhart received 66 votes. The third candidate, Ernie Wagner, received 24 votes.
The by-election was held to fill two councillor positions that have been vacant since last year. The Community Charter allows municipalities to forego a by-election if vacancies take place on or after Jan. 1 of an election year, and the Province had told the village — 90 per cent of which was destroyed by fire on June 30, 2021 — that it was not necessary to hold a by-election due to extenuating circumstances.
However, Mayor Jan Polderman said they chose to have a by-election to allow people to step up to the plate. “The more council members you have, the better.”
Voters faced several challenges, not least the fact that since the fire, many Lytton residents are scattered throughout the province, many of them some distance from Lytton. The April 30 by-election marks the first time that Lytton residents were able to vote by mail, an option that many B.C. municipalities are adopting in advance of this year’s municipal election, which takes place on Oct. 15.
Michell and Urquhart join Polderman and councillors Ian Hay and Lillian Graie on council, and will be sworn in during the Lytton council meeting on Wednesday, May 11.
Polderman is the only person remaining on council from the October 2018 municipal election; both Hay and Graie were elected in by-elections since that date.
All five positions will once again be in play during the election on Oct. 15.