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Election brings new blood to Black Diamond

There has been significant turnover on Black Diamond town council following yesterday’s municipal election.
WW-Brendan Kelly BWC 4153 web
Brendan Kelly is Black Diamond's new mayor and will be joined by three new council members and three incumbents.

There has been significant turnover on Black Diamond town council following yesterday’s municipal election.

Black Diamond residents voted for change this election, voting in three incumbent council members and voting in three new councillors and a new mayor.

Mayor Ruth Goodwin was overturned by newcomer Brendan Kelly, a teacher at Eden Valley’s Chief Jacob Bearspaw School.

Kelly easily won the spot with 257 more votes.

He said his hard work during the election paid off and he is now looking forward to leading council.

“Certainly, a lot of hard work has paid off – a lot of door-to-door,” he said. “A lot of the old school tactics definitely worked. I was really happy to get out and see what the concerns of the residents in Black Diamond were.”

Kelly said he put a lot of effort into his election campaign.

“People wanted to be heard and I think the turnout alone – we had over 800 voters and there were less than 500 last election,” Kelly said. “I think people wanted to see a fresh attitude, a fresh voice and some new ideas come to council.”

Councillors Veronica Kloiber, Ted Bain and Daryl Lalonde were re-elected. Incumbent Sharon Hart lost her seat by 15 votes.

New to council are Andrew Dunning, Heather Thomson and Chad Vandenhoek.

Kloiber said the results of the election reflect the town’s residents.

“I think this particular group really represents Black Diamond’s demographics really well,” she said, adding she thinks Vandenhoek is the Town’s youngest councillor. “In Black Diamond younger families are moving in and they need to be represented.”

She is also looking forward to working with the incoming mayor, who she says is also relatively young.

“I think Brendan’s philosophy is very team focused and I really like his style communication-wise,” she said. “I think Brendan is photogenic, charismatic and well-spoken and he’s going to be able to get the message out there.”

Newcomer to council Heather Thomson came into the election with 11 year’s experience working for the Town of Turner Valley. She said it might have been her background at the nearby municipality as well as her community ties that landed her the highest number of votes.

“I was shocked,” she said of the results. “Maybe my municipal experience, maybe the fact that I’ve been in the area so long, maybe my name was recognizable.”

Thomson also noted the new dynamic on council.

“We’ve got some nice young faces and that is really exciting to see,” she said. “I think that will be beneficial in moving the community forward.”

She said council will to brought up to speed quickly s working within a municipality is different than most other work environments.

“It is a steep learning curve,” she said. “You come in with expectations that you are going to make big changes and you quickly discover you can’t. These younger people seem to be very knowledgeable and hopefully that will come to them quickly.”

Thomson said she has also seen a change in who is moving to Black Diamond.

“The demographics in Turner Valley and Black Diamond have changed,” she said. “We used to be leaning towards a senior community and now we are definitely leaning towards a younger generation out here so that is exciting that a younger generation will be represented on council.”

She said her priority is for a possible amalgamation to go as smoothly as possible and that all the necessary work is done in time.

“There are a lot of things that need to be carefully considered as we enter amalgamation,” said Thomson.

Click here to view all the election results.

About the Author: Darlene Casten

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