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Olds councillors undecided on re-election plans

So far, Mayor Michael Muzcyhka is the only town councillor to say for sure that he will run for re-election
Olds council
Members of Olds municipal council. Photo courtesy of Town of Olds

OLDS — So far, Mayor Michael Muzcyhka is the only town council member to say for certain he will run for re-election in the Oct. 18 municipal election. 

The other six town councillors say they haven’t made up their minds yet on whether to do so. They anticipate making that decision some time this spring or summer. 

This year’s election will be held Oct. 18.  All seven seats in council will be up for grabs, including for mayor.  

Those planning to run for any of those seats have from now until Sept. 17 and again on Sept. 20 to file nomination papers.  

From now until Sept. 17, nomination papers can be filed at the town office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. On Sept. 20 they can be filed from 8:30 a.m. until noon.  

Advance polls will be held Oct. 1 and 2. 

Coun. Debbie Bennett is finishing her third term. She plans to announce her plans regarding the municipal election plan this summer. 

In an email, Bennett said there’s a lot on the plate of council and the town. 

“COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone and we will follow AHS (Alberta Health Services) guidelines as long as necessary,” Bennett wrote. “Businesses struggle and we need to shop local. 

“My heart goes out to frontline workers, students and teachers during COVID. I am very proud of Olds residents’ respect for AHS rules, as our low numbers indicate.”   

Coun. Wanda Blatz, who is finishing her first four-year term, said she doesn’t plan to make her announcement until early summer. 

In an email, Blatz listed two reasons for that decision: current COVID restrictions and a desire to work on council priorities. 

“I feel I need to focus on the issues," Blatz wrote. 

Coun. Mary Jane Harper Mary Jane Harper is completing her fourth term on town council.  

She says she doesn’t anticipate deciding whether to run for a fifth term until some time in late spring. 

“We’re only in February,” Harper said at the time she was asked.  

She said what she does know is she does not plan to run for mayor. 

“I’ll leave it to others,” she said. 

Coun. Mary Anne Overwater was elected to council in 2013. She said she too has been too busy with various council and town-related meetings to make a decision on whether to seek re-election as a councillor or run for mayor.  

“I’ll probably make my decision closer to the end of spring and the first part of summer,” Overwater said during an interview. 

Coun. Heather Ryan, also completing her first term on council, gave much the same answer. 

“With all the issues council is dealing with right now I'm just focused on being the best representative for our residents that I can be and haven't made any decisions yet,” Ryan wrote in an email. 

“But I must say that I'm honoured to have represented the citizens of Olds over the past three years and (I’m) proud of the work I've done to date on council and the committees I serve.” 

Coun. Mitch Thomson, who won a byelection to council just over a year ago is considering running for re-election as a councillor – possibly even mayor. 

However, he says he won’t likely make a decision on whether he’ll do either of those things for a few months, because he just bought a new business and he wants to make sure it’s running successfully first. 

Doug Collie

About the Author: Doug Collie

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