Despite the political disruptions that have taken place in Sayward, a special emergency response team has been appointed to tackle COVID-19 challenges. (Submitted photo )

Subsequent mayors’ resignations leaves Island village with a governance vacuum in perilous times

Sayward council will confer to elect an interim mayor almost a month after previous resignation as it continues to tackle COVID-19 with an emergency response team

After three resignations in March, the council members of Sayward will be convening a meeting on April 21 to select an interim acting mayor until a new mayor is elected after the COVID-19 pandemic settles.

On March 19, the acting mayor of Sayward, Joyce Ellis, announced her resignation citing “personal circumstances” and the need to “focus on family and health” as the reason for stepping down from the post.

The choices narrow down to the three existing councilmen of Sayward: Wes Cragg, Bill Ives and Norm Kirschner.

Councillor Bill Ives from the Sayward council said that “if all three councillors participate we should be able to walk away with a new acting mayor.”

This will be the third attempt for the council to select a mayor said Councillor Wes Cragg.

Talking about the urgency to elect an acting mayor, Cragg said that there are many “challenges” and “procedural issues” that need to be addressed at the earliest.”

Ellis’ resignation came in a week after the former mayor, John MacDonald, submitted his resignation citing similar reasons of “personal circumstances.”

In a March 13 press release issued by the village of Sayward, MacDonald said, “ The Village of Sayward is in reasonably good shape having secured funding for the water diversion project and the new water treatment plant; I feel it is now time to move on to enjoying my retirement with my family and friends. I will of course, continue to be an active member of our great little community.”

After serving as the mayor for 12 years since 2008, MacDonald is recorded to be the longest-serving mayor of Sayward since its incorporation in 1968.

These resignations were also followed by the resignation of the Chief Administrative Officer, rounding the numbers to three resignations within a month.

The series of resignations has raised some eyebrows.

While refusing to comment on the departures of the former council members, Councillor Ives said that for voters who are observing the disruptions, this will provide an impetus to make a “good choice” when the next election is slotted.

Speaking about the selection of the next acting mayor, Ives also added that the position will be filled for a very short time until they get the green light from the government, after COVID-19 to hold the next elections in Sayward.

While the day-to-day operations of Sayward are overseen by the existing council members, a special emergency team consisting of a ministry-appointed acting corporate officer has also been set up to address COVID-19 related issues.

“The whole village is closed, except the health clinic and the post office, which are also following the laid-out protocols,” said Ives.

Despite the vacuum, the council has ensured that the community has regular updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation.

“Majority of the advisories and information flyers have been mailed to everybody in the village with regular updates,” said Ives. “Everything is absolutely fine at Sayward.”

While indicating that the political situation and disruptions that have taken place of late in Sayward has contributed to stress, the council has undertaken significant measures to counter the situation when it comes to the pandemic, said Cragg.

“Our emergency response team along with Shaun Koopman, the protective services coordinator, emergency management, Strathcona Regional District, has addressed the COVID-19 situation in an impressive fashion,” said Cragg, adding the key to that was by providing people with apt information.

Cragg pointed out that the committee is trying to provide information that is transparent and accessible to all community members.

“In any pandemic, people are always worried about five basic things: health, housing, governance, security and food, and we’ve addressed those issues in informative videos that we have made for the community of Sayward,” he said.

“Even though there’s stress with the political situation, the people of Sayward also know that we’re keeping them safe with all these measures.”

READ ALSO: Campbell River area under provincial open burn ban

READ ALSO: Strathcona Regional District closes some parks

municipal politicsSayward

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mike Slaco, owner of Electron Metalworks, works on a large-scale piece of Tseshaht First Nation-designed artwork that will be incorporated into the side of the Harbour Quay Clocktower once it is refurbished. Slaco is working with the City of Port Alberni on the project. (RACHEL THEUS PHOTO)
Port Alberni’s waterfront clock tower will get a facelift in 2021

Aging Harbour Quay clock tower needs to be refurbished

Andrea Monticue and Herb Bruce will be the featured readers at Alberni Valley Words on Fire on Oct. 28. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Valley Words on Fire goes international

Spoken word event will take place on Fridays instead of Wednesdays starting next month

Bulldogs forward Chase Klassen delivers a check to Clippers defender Gianni Fairbrother during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs get back in the win column in preseason play

Bulldogs snap a five-game winless skid with a 3-2 win over the Nanaimo Clippers

Nanaimo RCMP patch
Domestic violence on the rise in Port Alberni

COVID-19 still affecting domestic violence stats, says Alberni RCMP’s top cop

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

Most Read