Ponoka County election candidates need to pull out their running shoes, as there’s going to be a race for all divisions this year — excluding division 5 west of Rimbey.
Before the nomination day clock struck noon Sept. 23, 13 candidates made their way to the county office to hand in their papers including incumbents George Verheire, Gawney Hinkley, Paul McLauchlin and Gordon Svenningsen. Keith Beebe (division 5) is not running again.
Nancy Hartford is the only candidate in division 5 and was automatically acclaimed to council. “This is unusual, especially on the first time,” said county CAO Charlie Cutforth.
Hartford will also be the first female councillor since 1998.
It’ll be a battle for votes in division 2 with five candidates vying for the seat. Running are Mark Matejka Lorrie Jess (who’s been acclaimed as ward 2 Wolf Creek Public Schools board trustee) Gawney Hinkley, who has 24 years’ experience with municipal politics, and Jerry Bonnett and Curtis Emes.
Running in division 3 against Verheire is Ponoka born and raised rancher/farmer Doug Weir. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in commerce.
Weir had it in mind to run but didn’t make the decision until nomination day arrived. “I had a friend who died of cancer, he told me it was my civic duty.”
McLauchlin, an environmental scientist and professional biologist, has some competition in the shape of farmer Roland Grutterink.
Running for the division 1 seat are Bryce Liddle, Tom Griffiths and Svenningsen.