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Unnoficial results show Jim Bryson wins Irricana byelection

Jim Bryson will become Irricana’s fifth council member after winning 109 votes according to unofficial results from the Town of Irricana’s by-election on May 17.

Unofficial results from the Town of Irricana’s byelection on May 17 indicated Jim Bryson will become Irricana’s fifth council member. 

According to the Town of Irricana, Bryson received a total of 109 votes, followed by Stephanie Katelnikoff with 81 votes, Julie Sim with 58 votes, Nathaniel Fleming with 31 votes, and Jeremie Page with 18 votes. Official results are expected to confirm the results by May 24. 

This will not be Bryson’s first stint on Irricana Town council. He served from 2017 to 2021, and ran unsuccessfully in the 2021 general election last October.

In an email to the Rocky View Weekly, Bryson said he plans to work with the existing council members to promote harmony in the Town of Irricana, which seems to be somewhat divided at the moment.

“I believe our policies and bylaws need to be reviewed and updated, as well we need to address the fact that our CAO is interim,” he said of his goals as an incoming councillor. 

He hopes the council can move forward with promoting sustainable growth and development.

“I will work diligently on your behalf to make our town a preferred place to call home and raise a family,” he said. “Lastly, I would like very much to thank all volunteers who worked on my behalf, to make this happen.”

Despite filling a seat on council in Irricana, election day didn’t close out completely without a hitch. An altercation broke out at the Irricana Town office and Beiseker RCMP were called, confirmed Cpl. Gina Slaney, RCMP media relations officer for Southern Alberta.

“The investigation is ongoing as to what occurred there,” she stated in an email.

According to witnesses, the altercation included candidate Stephanie Katelnikoff, who has since stated she intends to hold involved parties accountable.

“The RCMP, Municipal Affairs and lawyers are all involved so far,” she stated in an email. 

According to Katelnikoff – who is also involved in a legal battle with the Town over a buried storm pipe she found on her property last year – the ordeal stemmed from a disagreement around her right to be present at the polling station. She claimed she was forcefully removed.

“As the situation is still under investigation, we can not comment at this time. The Deputy Mayor will respond at the appropriate time,” said Irricana CAO Barrie Hutchinson.

At a candidates’ forum in Irricana on May 7, attendees and participants spoke about a growing divide they had noticed within the community, citing examples of disagreement and negative campaigning among the supporters of opposing candidates.

The byelection was called to fill a vacancy on council left by former mayor Frank Friesen, who announced his resignation in March. Friesen recently moved to Beiseker, which disqualified him from maintaining his council seat in Irricana.


Masha Scheele

About the Author: Masha Scheele

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