Greenwood residents will be voting for a new mayor on Oct. 10, more than seven months after former mayor Ed Smith resigned from the chair.
City councillors triggered a by-election for the position on July 23, when they appointed city CAO Wendy Higashi as the Chief Electoral Officer. According to the B.C. Local Government Act, a by-election must be held within 80 of days of that decision. Council settled on Saturday, Oct. 10.
The province has given Greenwood the go-ahead to open the polls under COVID-19. Voting will take place at the McArthur Centre and advanced polls will be open on Sept. 30, Higashi said. While other municipal by-elections scheduled for this spring and summer were initially cancelled because of the pandemic, Elections BC said that they were now working with the provincial health officer to re-open those campaigns in Rossland, Victoria, Lytton and School District 10 – Arrow Lakes.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing told this newspaper that the ministry, Elections BC, WorksSafe BC and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer are working to create guidelines for municipalities on how to safely hold by-elections this fall.
Smith left the seat at the head of the Greenwood council chambers on Feb. 28, after holding the office since 2014. At the time he stepped down, Smith said that he made his decision to resign “a little while back.” Councillors have since taken turns in the mayor’s chair, each serving on a three-month rotation. Coun. John Bolt is currently the city’s acting mayor.
Current city councillors are allowed to run for the mayor’s seat, but they must resign from their council position by Aug. 6 if they intend to do so. At Thursday’s council meeting held at the McArthur Centre, only Coun. Gerry Shaw expressed an interest in running. If a current city councillor does opt to run for mayor, their vacated seat would also be up for grabs in the Oct. 10 by-election.
Anyone looking to run for mayor or city councillor – should a current councillor resign by Aug. 6 – must pick up their nomination papers from Greenwood City Hall.