Luck of the draw: Leonard Faber wins 'unusual' mayoral race in Faro

After splitting the votes with incumbent Jack Bowers on election night, Leonard Faber won the Faro mayoral race through a draw.

'It was kind of shocking,' says Faber who had tied for votes with incumbent mayor, then won by draw

Leonard Faber is the new mayor of Faro, Yukon. (Submitted by Leonard Faber)

Leonard Faber woke up Friday as the new mayor of Faro, Yukon.

"It was kind of shocking," he said. "I'm not a very lucky person. I think this is the very first thing I've won."

And in the end, luck had everything to do with it.

Faro's two-man mayoral race was decided on Thursday night by someone drawing a name from a box.

"I feel empathy for the other individual because he's a good man," said Faber. "I just got the lucky draw."

Faber and Faro go back to the late 1980s, when he worked at the mine until it closed. He then spent several years in the South, and when it was finally time to retire, he and his wife returned to Faro.

That was 12 years ago, but Faber's still working. He's currently a site superintendent at the Faro mine complex.

The abandoned Faro mine site. Leonard Faber worked at the mine in the 1980s until it closed. (Government of Yukon)

He likes to say he loves Faro for what it doesn't have.

"No sirens, no large crime. It's why I moved here."

Now, after a surprising election, he's the new leader of a semi-new town council, and responsible for the direction Faro will take over the next three years.

Faber says he feels fortunate that two councillors have been re-elected, because it will help with the transition.

He says he wants this new council to take a look at the former's agenda. Together, he wants them to decide if that's still the direction they all want to go.

"People who know me know what I'm about," Faber said. "I'm honest, I have no hidden agenda."

He added, "I'm really not political in that sense. I think that's why people voted for me."

Election night 'twists and turns'

Faber got exactly half the votes.

"Election night certainly had a lot of twists and turns," said Faro's chief administrative officer, Ian Dunlop. "As we started counting the ballots, things were going back and forth."

Ian Dunlop, Faro's chief administrative officer, says because of a tie in votes, the community's new mayor was chosen by draw. (Karen McColl/CBC)

It ended with an exact tie. Both Faber and incumbent mayor Jack Bowers had 86 votes each.

Officials consulted the territory's Municipal Act. It says in the case of a tie, they have to draw a name from a "non-transparent receptacle."

So they used an empty ballot box. Each name was put inside, then the lid was fastened and it was "vigorously shaken up," Bowers recalled.

The returning officer then drew out a name: Leonard Faber.

Faro had a new mayor.

"It was quite unusual," said Bowers. "But you know, this is the way democracy is supposed to work."

Bowers says he has no regrets, and he's already told Faber he can count on his support.

"It was done fair and square."

Bowers says he's proud of what he accomplished while mayor, and he's looking forward to staying busy with his businesses, but having a little more time for fishing and snowmobiling.

Incumbent mayoral candidate Jack Bowers says Faber won 'fair and square.' (Jane Sponagle/CBC )

His advice for the new council is to spend time building up the relationships and teamwork.

They'll be considering the landfill bylaw, what to do with the main commercial building in town, and concerns over the reorganization of the RCMP detachments in Faro and Ross River.

"They're going to disagree. They need to be able to step up and voice those opinions, and be willing to accept whatever the final outcome is that council decides," said Bowers.

"You can't carry around a grudge just because what you hoped for wasn't passed to your liking."