The District of Wells no longer has a quorum after three councillors and the mayor resigned, leaving only a single member of council, Mandy Kilsby.
The district held its last regular council meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, Nov. 23, with Kilsby as acting mayor.
Gabe Fourchalk announced his immediate resignation as mayor on Friday, Nov. 19 citing a perceived conflict of interest with Barkerville Gold Mines where he works as an equipment operator.
Councillors Ksenya Dorwart and Chris Cooley have also resigned. Cooley gave his notice he would be resigning in early November.
Councillor Jordan Rohatynski resigned too, but intends to run for mayor in the upcoming by-election.
Chief administrative officer Donna Forseille said the election must be held within 80 days from Nov. 23.
Rohatynski thanked Dorwart, Cooley and Fourchalk for their hard work over the past three years and wished them luck.
He praised Kilsby and district staff for “keeping the ship, many have now abandoned, steered and not hitting an iceberg.”
”I wish I had some helpful information and announcements to give; unfortunately, I’m just thankful that everyone showed up and I’m just very hopeful for the future,” Rohatynski said.
“We’re no longer in interesting times, we’re in unprecedented times and I’m just very excited for how the future is going to go because this is where changes are finally going to be made.”
During the online meeting acting mayor Kilsby assured everyone she would not be stepping down from council and said she intends to finish her term no matter how challenging it might be.
Kilsby admitted she had seriously considered stepping down, but decided it would not solve any of the district’s problems.
“Being a part of council has meant that I along with my fellow council members and district staff have been subjected to bullying and harassment including verbal abuse, malicious gossip, and even occasionally threats,” she said, calling it an often stressful position.
“Council’s decisions are not made lightly and we do our best to make those decisions while balancing the values and concerns of the community as a whole along with expert advice, empirical evidence and the guidance of the authorities to whom we as a municipality must answer, and all of that with a teeny tiny little budget in one of the smallest tax payer bases around. It’s not an easy job, and thank you to those that have stepped up to do it.”
Kilsby said she looks forward to working with the next council and hoped some attending the meeting would consider seeking nomination.
Forseille also gave thanks to everyone and for Kilsby stepping up as acting mayor.
“Staff really hopes to see people step up to run in this byelection,” she said.
“In the past we’ve had people not wishing to step forward— it is a stressful job to have, so I don’t blame them but it is a very important job for the municipality.”