Ed Coleman may have a short time, but the new mayor of Wells still has big plans.
Coleman, a former Quesnel city councillor and former CEO of Barkerville Historic Town and Park, was elected as the district’s new mayor in a by-election on Saturday, Feb. 5.
Coleman defeated former district councillor Jordan Rohatynski 89-27. Also elected in the byelection were Dorothea Funk, Jennifer Lewis and John Aitken. The newly elected council will join Mandy Kilsby on Wells council.
Kilsby was the only councillor to not resign earlier this year.
“The good thing is we all know (Kilsby),” Coleman said, noting she worked with him at Barkerville.
“I know the three candidates that have got in, uniquely we did have a tie. There’s been some discussion around that, but from what I’ve heard they followed all procedures to break the tie.”
Coleman also committed to running again when municipal elections are held this upcoming October, noting it was a main issue during his campaign.
“I’ve got the green light from my wife,” he quipped.
“I’m definitely committed to doing this for the next five years, if I can get in again.”
Coleman expects to be sworn in on Feb. 22, noting the first priority for the new council will be to review and approve the district’s budget.
“The second thing is to work on an (memorandum of understanding) and the beginnings of a community benefits agreement with Osisko Development,” he said.
The city’s former mayor, Gabe Fourchalk, resigned in November of 2021 due to a perceived conflict of interest with the local gold mine, which is in the process of getting environmental approval for a major expansion. Fourchalk works as an equipment operator at the Barkerville Gold Mine, which is owned by Osisko.
“That’s been sitting on the shelf since the summer and the last COVID surge, so we need to get to that,” Coleman said.
Coleman said due to COVID-19, he mostly talked with the community by phone, but held a couple of in-person meetings during the campaign.
A full slate of candidates ran in the by-election, and Coleman said he was happy with the turnout and engagement throughout the process.
“People felt it was a very healthy process, and great turnout for a by-election,” he said.
“It may have set a record.”
The district also needs to move the official community plan forward, decide some sewage and water issues and is hoping to construct an outdoor rink this summer.
Coleman was a Quesnel city councillor from 2011-2018.
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