Election night proved to be an exciting one.
Town of Ponoka voters showed loud and clear who they would like to see representing them for the next four years. It could be seen as one of the most educated results the town has seen in a long time. Voters went in there knowing the issues and were thoughtful about who they picked.
In spite of the fact that the percentage of estimated eligible voters was down to 36.7 per cent compared to 38 per cent in 2013, the actual number of votes per individual were strong. Mayor-elect Rick Bonnett garnered 1,352 votes, that’s almost four hundred more than the last election.
And with councillors it was the same. Councillor-elect Kevin Ferguson broke the 1,500 mark followed closely by Ted Dillon at 1,476.
This council is a solid balance with four incumbents and three new councillors. Each one brings something to the table. This council has the potential of a fresh start and there is an air of lessons learned from the past four years.
The trick with this new council, and the mayor, will be to get past each other’s differences and see the light at the end of each decision. Thankfully, each one of Ponoka’s elected officials (numbers aren’t official until Friday) seem to be aware of what is at stake.
It’s an interesting thing about elections, if voters don’t like what they see during a councillor’s term, they will let candidates know in the next election. There is a lesson in there for those who will now represent the community: Think long term and for the benefit of Ponoka.
Another point of interest is that with change and growth comes strong opinions. Voters showed that they want to see that movement and growth, which brings change. Of course, there is going to be concern every single time something new occurs in the town, but it appears folks are prepared for that.
For all the candidates, they should be congratulated for putting themselves out into the public eye. It’s not an easy thing to be placed under public scrutiny and their desire to help Ponoka is commendable.
If the candidates who didn’t make the cut are really serious about serving the community, now is a good time to take in some committee work or volunteer their time in other community events. That work will give them a greater understanding of how the town operates and it will educate them on the issues that are driving this community forward.
Our mayor-elect has been given a strong second chance. Voters clearly want Bonnett leading Ponoka. He’s got an opportunity to not only drive change in town but to lead this new council to success.
From all accounts, Bonnett shows he has a desire to see this occur. Sometimes it takes tough times to be able to learn from them and certainly, Bonnett has indicated that he has learned quite a bit. Indeed, incumbents appear ready to move past the split issues from the last four years to help Ponoka.
They will be able to help guide our new councillors through those issues and potentially catch any early signs of a slumbering disunity bear. Thankfully there’s a strong and supportive administration available to help council rather than split it.
These next four years are going to be interesting for the Town of Ponoka and our council and mayor seem ready to take on the challenge.