Incumbent mayors post wins in civic elections

Voters in Saskatchewan choose familiar faces as Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and other cities return incumbents to the mayors' chairs.

CFL player elected to Regina council

Voters in Saskatchewan chose familiar faces as Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and other cities returned incumbents to the mayors' chairs in municipal elections Wednesday.

In some cases, it was barely a race: Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco won 84 per cent of the votes cast.

"We are going to see all that work that they have put together come to fruition in the next three years, which we are excited about," Fiacco said.

Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison was also returned with a commanding lead. He captured almost 58 per cent of the vote.

"The results speak for themselves," Atchison said Wednesday night. "The citizens have spoke."

Atchison noted that in his city all council members were also re-elected. 

"I think it's wonderful for the City of Saskatoon to have all 10 councillors being returned along with the mayor," Atchison said. "I think it is a vote of confidence in the direction the City of Saskatoon is going."

In Prince Albert, Mayor Jim Scarrow was well ahead of his challengers.

In Moose Jaw, voters had to choose a new mayor as the incumbent did not run again. In that city, voters selected Glenn Hagel, a former member of the provincial legislature.

"I think what want to do is come to an agreement on how we conduct our affairs," Hagel said after winning. His city has gone through heated debates among citizens and city council over plans for a new hockey and recreation complex.

Hagel said the tenor of that debate needs to change.

"We've been through some turbulent times in Moose Jaw and people are looking for leadership," he added.

In Humboldt, Malcolm Eaton becomes the mayor. He defeated another former MLA, Arlene Jule.

Other winners in mayoralty races were Ian Hamilton in North Battleford and Debra Button in Weyburn.

There was a nail-biter in Yorkton, where James Wilson eked out a victory over Randy Goulden. The two were separated by only 54 votes.

Football player on Regina council

In Regina, Chris Szarka, a fullback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL football team was elected to city council. Szarka beat out an incumbent, Jerry Flegel.

In the city of Swift Current, Jerrod Schafer, who had been a member of the council, was selected mayor over two challengers. Incumbent Sandy Larson did not run again.

Before the election, Swift Current was caught up in a controversy over a rat infestation. The issue became a defining issue in the election.

"The rat situation has come under control here in the last few months," Schafer told CBC News on Wednesday night. "People wanted to move on from there and start to work on any reputational damage that was done to our city."

There was one confirmed upset. In the border city of Lloydminster, Jeff Mulligan defeated incumbent mayor Ken Baker.

In Estevan, Gary St. Onge was acclaimed.

Voter turnout low

All the results were unofficial. Returning officers are expected to certify the outcomes by Friday in most locations.

According to the numbers, voter turnout in Saskatchewan's two largest cities was low. In Saskatoon about 27 per cent of eligible electors cast ballots. In Regina, an estimated 24 per cent showed up to vote.

North Battleford referendum

In the city of North Battleford, citizens were also asked to vote on a safety measure concerning school bus stop arms and flashing lights.

The referendum question asked people if a current ban on using those devices should be repealed. The answer that came back was "yes," to amend the bylaw.

It means the safety arms and flashing lights may be used in the city.