By Dale Cory
It appears the citizens of Ponoka are pleased with the job Larry Henkelman has done as mayor during the past three years.
When the nomination process was all said and done as of noon Monday, Sept. 20, no one had put their name forward to run as Ponoka’s top elected official, allowing Henkelman to be acclaimed mayor for the second-straight term.
“I’m pleased to be able to continue as the mayor of Ponoka,” he said. “I was surprised there won’t be an election (for mayor). I appreciate the support from the community.”
Henkelman was first elected mayor in 2004 after serving four terms as councillor. In 2007, he, along with the rest of town council, was acclaimed to office.
While Henkelman is set to return as mayor, the same cannot be said for the six council positions.
A total of 12 nominees have put their name forward for the six seats, including five incumbents.
“It’s quite likely council will have a different look after the election. With so many running a few of the incumbents could be defeated,” said Henkelman. “I’m impressed with the number of people who are running for council. Some people maybe are running on an issue they have about the way things have been done but there’s no doubt there’s an interest in serving the community.”
Running again for council will be Drew Dougherty, Doug Gill, John Jacobs, Jerry Siemens and Jack Surbey. Marg Barr will not run again for Ponoka council.
The seven new nominees for council include: Rick Bonnett, Loanna Gulka, Beva Hamilton, Julian Hudson, David McPherson, James Nakoneshny and Izak J. Van Der Westhuizen.
Henkelman said some residents he talked to said they would run but did not file; others who have filed are people he doesn’t know. His concern is whether they’ve done their homework regarding the time commitment involved in being a town councillor. “When I look back when I was first elected to council I didn’t know either.”
With a new council, the town is likely to set new priorities and Henkelman looks forward to the debate.
“I’ve enjoyed working with this council. I think we’ve done a lot of good for the town and we’ve got the planning in place for the next council to continue to move the Town of Ponoka forward.”
Two Ponoka County councilors acclaimed
A pair of Ponoka County council members will not be challenged for their seats when the Oct. 18 civic election is held.
Gordon Svenningsen, in Division 1, and E. Keith Beebe, in Division 5, were both acclaimed for their council seats.
In Division 2, Rick Angeltvedt and Curtis Emes will challenge incumbent Gawney Hinkley.
In Division 3, incumbent George Verheire will be challenged by Frank Cissell and Bruce Millar.
In Division 4, incumbent Paul McLauchlin has one challenger, Reini Wright.
Five of six trustees acclaimed in Wolf Creek School Division
Just one of the five wards in Wolf Creek School Division No. 72 will hold a vote.
Donna Peterson in Ward 1, Lorrie Jess, in Ward 2, Karin Engen, in Ward 4, and trustees Jancee Hawthorne and Robert Huff, in Ward 5, have all been acclaimed and will continue to sit as school board trustees.
The only voting will take place in Ward 3, where incumbent Trudy Bratland will be challenged by Scott Ellis and Pam Kapalka.
Ponoka’s Lentz acclaimed to separate school board trustee post
Maria Lentz will not be opposed in Ponoka Electoral Subdivision No. 1 in St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Separate School Division No. 38.
Other trustees returning by acclamation include Angela Greenidge and John Tomkinson in Ward 2 – Wetaskiwin, Thalia Hibbs in Lacombe Electoral Subdivision No. 2, and Sandra Bannard and Susan Kathol in Ward 4 – Drayton Valley.
Arlene Hamilton, Kevin McAvena and Karen Richart are running for the Leduc Electoral Subdivision No. 1 trustee position.
As of the Monday noon deadline, no one had submitted nomination papers for the trustee position in Beaumont Electoral Subdivision No. 2.
The civic election will take place Monday, Oct. 18.