Smithers has a new mayor.
Former councillor Gladys Atrill beat out businessman Joe Bramsleven for the top job by a vote of 963 to 326, a turnout that pales in comparison to the last mayoral election in which almost 2,000 people voted.
The press was denied access to the new mayor’s victory celebration at the Old Church, but Deb Meissner outside the building reported cheering from inside.
Atrill was thankful in comments made by telephone.
“I feel pretty good and very humble and grateful for the support of the community, the hard work of the many volunteers and I look forward to doing the job,” she said.
“Mostly I am amazed and very humble and realize it’s not about me; it’s about the many people who work so hard and believe in this town. I am grateful to the people who have worked hard and supported me.”
Bramsleven was gracious in defeat.
“First I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to run for your mayor, it was a great experience,” he said.
“I would also like to thank supporters for all their hard work. I want to express to the community that this is their town and to keep letting council and mayor know that the town’s needs must be addressed and taken care of. If I’ve done anything I’ve shaken the tree.”
A byelection was triggered when former mayor Taylor Bachrach quit to be become the Skeena Bulkley Valley MP last year, but was delayed first due to the Town waiting for word on a new library/art gallery grant that would have required a referendum and then COVID-19.
When Atrill announced she would run for mayor, her council spot was left vacant and needed to be filled.
Four people were vying for the one seat.
Mika Meyer beat out the other contenders with 531 votes to Colin Bateman’s 443, Randy Bell’s 177 and Sam Raven’s 141.
Meyer felt emotional and overwhelmed when she first heard that she had won, she said, adding she wasn’t sure which way people were going to vote.
“I know I worked hard,” she said. “When I started the campaign, and I first put my name in the hat, I said I’m going to give it everything I have.
“You do what you can and I did. Any moment I had, I tried to connect with people and tried to work as hard as possible. I guess I was able to connect with enough people that believed in me. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years and I will continue to work hard and be that voice for the community.”
The results were delayed until after 10 p.m. largely due to a large number of mail-in ballots according to chief electoral officer Dianna Plouffe.
With files from Deb Meissner