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Peter Brown coasts to fourth term as Airdrie's mayor

Votes have been tallied for the Oct. 18 municipal election, and Airdrie’s current mayor Peter Brown is headed for a fourth term in office.
Mayor Peter Brown celebrates with a COVID-safe event at the Overtime Lounge with friends, family, and supporters, following the news he was voted mayor of Airdrie for a fourth term.

Votes have been tallied for the Oct. 18 municipal election, and Airdrie’s current mayor Peter Brown is headed for a fourth consecutive term in office.

In the three-candidate race for the mayor’s seat, Brown garnered 7,848 votes, followed by Lindsey Coyle with 2,382 votes, and Allan Hunter with 1,592, according to the City of Airdrie’s website.

“I feel really good. I’m really happy and thankful for the support from the community,” Brown said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Brown has been Airdrie's mayor since 2010, when he defeated Linda Bruce with a tally of 4,926 votes.

Projects, initiatives, and items of note throughout Brown’s more recent years on council include lobbying for and securing funding to complete the 40 Ave. highway bridge and interchange, the opening of the 24/7 Urgent Care Centre on Main Street, plans and approvals for a new library, and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though the unofficial results showed Brown with a significant lead over his competitors, he confessed he had two speeches prepared for his COVID-safe gathering of friends, family, and supporters at the Overtime Lounge in the Rob Ebbesen Arena on Oct. 18.

“I really didn’t know how this was going to go – one of my competitors had way more signs out than I did [and] I felt like there was some momentum there, possibly,” he said.

Brown added his uncertainty surrounding the results was heightened by the fact he didn’t do a lot of door-knocking or in-person events throughout his campaign, due to the pandemic.

“I guess I took it for granted that most – or many – people in the community already knew who I was,” he said. “So, we really focused more on social media than we did door-to-door.”

Nonetheless, the mayor said was happy to be re-elected once again, adding he has received a clear mandate following the significant number of votes he received in this election.

Brown waited until the end of August to submit his nomination papers for this year's election, and said that while he had various opportunities to move on from municipal politics, he wanted to stay and continue the work he has been doing for the last 11 years.

“I felt like it would be unfair for me to leave through a pandemic, to not have that continuity of leadership, to not be able to continue what I’ve been doing,” he said.

He added he is looking forward to furthering the City’s path to reconciliation, explaining that cultural insights from various groups in the community are presented at the beginning of each council meeting.

Other points of attention for Brown in the next four years include the upcoming budget cycle – a budget he warned throughout his campaign will be a tough one – as well as the creation of cultural and community centres, the completion of the new library on Main Street, and a new recreation centre on the west side of the city.

He also wanted to acknowledge his opponents, as well as the individuals who ran for a seat on council, explaining that while not everyone may be happy with the results of the vote, he and his colleagues were listening to the ideas presented by candidates and encourage all to be persistent in their drive for change.

“Also remember, you can join a City board, you can work with a non-profit in the community, you can get those ideas that you wanted to bring as the mayor or as councillor [and] you can bring them in other ways,” he said. “And honestly, that’s where we’ve seen the biggest movement – when people come forward with initiatives.”

Reached the morning after the election, Coyle said she was disappointed with the results. Although she entered the race to be an advocate for change in Airdrie, she said she found it difficult to be a part of the “political game,” explaining that she’s not one for photo-ops or self-promotion.

“It felt hard to be a part of the system, and [watch] people say things that their actions don’t [match] – they aren’t consistent,” she said.

While the results were not what Coyle wished and worked for, she said the low number of Airdronians who cast their vote on Oct. 18 is even more difficult to process. Only 22 per cent of eligible voters filled a ballot for the Oct. 18 vote, 5.8 per cent of which were cast in advanced polls. This marks a two per cent drop from 2017, when 24 per cent of eligible voters participated.

“The low voter turnout is harder to swallow than not getting in,” Coyle said. “My reasons for running were to see change in our city, and it’s not possible with apathy.”

Brown, along with returning Couns. Darrell Belyk, Ron Chapman, Candice Kolson, Al Jones, Tina Petrow, and the newly elected Heather Spearman, will be sworn in during a ceremony on Oct. 25.

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