The byelection to replace former Abbotsford city councillor Bruce Banman has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25.
At the council meeting on Monday (July 12), Gabryel Joseph was appointed chief election officer. Joseph is the city’s director of legislative services and city clerk.
Named as deputy chief election officers are Kathleen Brow, Sherry Davis, Tammy Ketola and Lisa Zwarn.
A report to council states that the budget for the byelection has been set for $300,000.
Joseph stated that although pandemic protocols are lifting, “safety and comfort levels of voters in our community may vary,” and residents willl have the opportunity to vote by mail-in ballot in addition to in person.
The byelection is required to replace Banman, who was voted the MLA for Abbotsford South in the October 2020 provincial election.
Banman stepped down from his council position on Feb. 28 of this year, saying he wanted to focus solely on being the MLA.
He said he had wanted to complete his term as councillor, which he began in 2018, but he ran provincially with the assumption that the NDP would set the election for October 2021.
But Premier John Horgan called a snap election, which took place instead in October 2020.
Mayor Henry Braun was critical of Banman’s decision to step down before Jan. 1, 2022. Remaining on council until then would have avoided a byelection – and the associated costs – with the next municipal election taking place Oct. 15, 2022.
The Community Charter requires local governments to hold a byelection if a councillor resigns their position before Jan.1 in the year of a general local election.
The nomination period for the byelection runs from Aug. 10 to 20, and advanced voting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 15 at Cascade Community Church and Sept. 18 at Columbia Bible College.
Voter notification cards will be sent out, advising people of their voting options. Information and updates will be posted online at abbotsford.ca/election.