London City Hall. (Blackburn News file photo).London City Hall. (Blackburn News file photo).

AUDIO: How will London councillors fill vacant Ward 13 seat?

Federal elections usually mean the faces in Ottawa change. But this time, it'll mean some change on London City Council as well.

Arielle Kayabaga's win in London West means she'll be leaving her Ward 13 council seat, and the talk about who may replace her in the downtown ward has already begun.

According to a report sent out to councillors on Wednesday afternoon, they have two options.

The first option is to appoint somebody from the community to hold the seat until the end of the term, which is in October of 2022.

The second option is to hold a by-election, which would allow voters to decide who gets the seat for the next year.

The cost of the by-election, according to city staff, would be between $165,000 and $185,000.

"If council determines that they wish to go through the by-election process, we would look at opening the nominations late October, early November," said City Clerk Cathy Saunders. "We're probably looking at holding the election in 2022, January or February."

Will councillors use the results of the 2018 election to fill the vacancy?

John Fife-Millar hopes so.

He finished second to Kayabaga in that race, with his name appearing on 2,186 of the ballots cast, 618 fewer than the winner's total.

"I think it's a great opportunity to be able to serve the constituents of this ward," Fyfe-Millar said when asked by Blackburn News if he was interested in the job. "It's something I've always been excited about, downtown is near and dear to my heart. Ward 13 neighbourhoods and such need a strong voice."

Fyfe-Millar believes that London's unique approach of the 2018 election bolsters his case.

"We didn't do ranked balloting specifically for an issue like this, but I remember when we went to the education seminars and such, it was explained to us that ranked balloting would be able to assist us through situations like this," Fyfe-Millar added.

Councillors will have 60 days from the date Kayabaga's seat is declared vacant to choose between appointment and by-election. The vacancy will be declared no later than the October 5 council meeting.

"Once councillors has made a decision, staff would move forward with whatever option they choose to help implement that," said Saunders.

519 Podcast host Craig Needles spoke to Fyfe-Millar about the vacancy. You can hear their conversation below.

[audio mp3=""][/audio]




Read More Local Stories