Special by-election fills seat in St. Mary’s District 3/5

By Lois Ann Dort    

SHERBROOKE – It has been almost half a year since residents in District 3/5 (Melrose-Aspen-Caledonia area) in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s have had a representative at the council table. After last Saturday’s by-election there will finally be a new face at the council table this spring, Kaytland Smith.

Smith won the by-election, 119 votes to 103 running against Aubrey “Rennie” Beaver. The two had both ran for the seat in the regular municipal election on October 15, 2016 but the results, which had given Beaver a two-vote margin of victory at that time, were declared null by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia due to irregularities that contradicted the Elections Act of Nova Scotia.

Smith, who resides in Smithfield on Highway 348, is new to politics but not to community service. “I’ve been PTA president and worked with the Girl Guides,” she told The Journal on Monday.

After years of volunteer work, Smith decided that to really get things done, you had to have a title. That’s when she decided to try her hand at municipal politics. Speaking to the long road to council she has travelled, she said, “We definitely learned a lot...Things went wrong and it was unfortunate.

“I am glad it is done because we have a lot going on in the municipality and it is budget time and we haven’t had someone to represent our district. I am glad to finally get someone in there to speak on behalf of the people living out here...We are one of the more rural areas in a rural municipality.”

As for her opponent in the race for District 3/5, Smith said, “Mr. Beaver was an excellent gentleman to run against. He ran a fair and honest election...I thought all along that whichever of us won would be excellent for our community. I have already reached out to him, and said I’d love to speak to him when the time is right, about his ideas.”

Marvin MacDonald, the CAO of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, said that it was a relief for everyone, particularly the residents of District 3/5 and the candidates, to have a final decision.

“We are all looking forward to moving on,” MacDonald said, noting that the voter turn out in the by-election was higher than that of the initial election on October 15. “That’s a reflection of the interest people have taken in the whole process.”

St. Mary’s Warden Michael Mosher said that the process to fill the vacant seat wasn’t quick but he was happy the people of District 3/5 would now be represented on council. “To have a vacant seat is not in anyways conducive to the democratic process. We want to have every seat there and everyone represented. We are very pleased to finally have that done,” said Mosher, noting that the seat was filled in time to vote on the upcoming budget.

Smith will be sworn in as the councillor for District 3/5 on the morning of April 5.