Tofino won’t just be electing a new mayor in the spring, two councillor positions will be up for grabs as well.
Tofino is set to hold a municipal byelection in March to replace former mayor Josie Osborne who left the seat after becoming the MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim in October’s provincial election.
Councillors Dan Law and Andrea McQuade have announced they will be running for the mayor’s position and, unlike Osborne who was able to take a leave of absence as mayor while running provincially, both must resign their current positions.
The district plans to hold a special meeting on Dec. 16 to appoint a chief elections officer, which will start an 80-day clock to hold a byelection, according to Tofino’s manager of corporate services Elyse Goatcher-Bergmann.
“Once that appointment is made, the clock starts ticking,” Goatcher-Bergmann told the Westerly News.
She added that any councillors wanting to run for mayor will have 14 days to resign their seat after an elections officer is appointed.
“It is not a leave of absence. It is a full resignation,” she said.
She noted that with both Law and McQuade set to resign, the town’s council will be down to four members, which is the minimum required to reach quorum.
“We will need everyone to show up to every single meeting in order to be able to conduct business,” she said.
Law and McQuade are both currently serving their first terms on council, with McQuade earning her seat in October 2018’s general election and Law earning his in a November 2019 byelection.
Both confirmed to the Westerly that they will be running for mayor.
McQuade told the Westerly that she’s had her eye on the mayor’s seat since she ran for council.
“This wasn’t a split second decision, this wasn’t made this year…Was this two years ahead of schedule? Absolutely. Does that mean that I’m any less ready? No,” she said. “I firmly believe that our town has been consistent in the past two years, and maybe a little bit louder in the past nine months, that we are looking for thoughtful, forward-thinking, progressive leadership. I think I’m the person to be in that role.”
Law said he spent some time mulling over the decision after Osborne was announced the NDP’s candidate in the provincial election.
“It took a couple of months to be honest and, during that time, I also received a tremendous amount of community encouragement to consider running for mayor. So, I was certainly not alone in the process thinking about it,” he said. “I’m running for mayor because I really believe this is an especially critical time for our community.