With a voter turnout nearing an impressive 40 per cent ,Warfield has elected Diane Langman as the new mayor.
Her win also marks a milestone; Langman is the first woman elected into the head seat since the village was incorporated in December 1952.
The mayor-elect is quick to point out that she has never faced any gender barriers in politics. Langman was first elected to Warfield council in the November 2014 civic election, then resigned as councillor in December to run for mayor.
“I am very fortunate that I’ve never felt there were any boundaries between men and women in this role,” Langman told the Trail Times on Monday. “I think that’s in part, to all the women in politics in our area. They’ve been great role models and I haven’t had those barriers, which I feel very thankful about.”
Langman won the Saturday byelection with 282 votes. The race was tight – her opponent, Brett Rakuson, also a former Warfield councillor, received 264 votes.
The two open councillor seats will be filled by Raymond Masleck and Bradley Jansen.
A total of 548 votes were counted, of those Masleck garnered 387 votes and Jansen 376.
The new council will be sworn in March 10.
With only two Warfield councillors sitting at the table since December, there will be plenty of catching up to do besides bonding with new personalities – though that is where Langman plans to begin.
“(The first order of business) will be bringing everyone up to speed,” she shared. “But I also think one of the other priorities that I see, is us doing a strategic planning session so we all start to come together as a team,” she emphasized. “I think that’s extremely important right from the get-go, to bring everybody together as a team.”
Another priority involves planning the future of the village’s water system.
“I think the very first thing we need to do is to start a water study,” Langman explained. “So we can start to plan and work on figuring out where our water supply is going to be coming from, because the deadline is coming up fast.”
Warfield’s water contract with Teck Trail Operations expires in 2025, so the village must determine its next move.
“We are using their pump house right now, to get water up to our treatment plant,” Langman said. “So we are going to have to either build a new pump house or try to negotiate something with the City of Trail – or look at alternate sources. It’s a big capital cost … so if we do a water study at least we can start evaluating what the best direction is for Warfield.”
She concluded the 40 per cent voter turn out is telling.
“It shows the importance and what this election meant to Warfield.”
“I’d really like to thank everyone for coming out and for voting,” said Langman. “And for the amount of engagement that the residents of Warfield showed, they were so involved in this election which is fantastic to see.
“And I would like to thank Mr Rakuson for his hard fought campaign and for his years of service to the Village of Warfield.”