By Justin Seward
It was an historic night in Cypress County’s election as the polls closed with longtime councillor LeRay Pahl ousted by Shane Hok, Michelle McKenzie becoming the first female councillor voted in the Hilda/Schuler riding, while the younger Robin Kurpjuweit overtook Garry Lentz for Ward 4.
Pahl has been on council for 30 years and said there simply had to be a winner and a loser.
“It’s always tough to lose,” said Pahl. “Shane did a good job and he’ll do a good job moving forward.
“I thought we were in a pretty decent position. All the people we had talked to had kind of indicated that they would vote for me but I didn’t ring enough doorbells maybe.”
Pahl said there was a couple things he would have liked to have completed and hopes that Hok will grab the bull by the horns and carry them forward.
After all those years of being on county boards and scheduling in council, unless he gets on with MPC there is a probability he will not be involved with the county any longer.
However, he has already told Hok he will offer his guidance on issues he needs support on.
Hok was not expecting to beat Pahl by as much as he did at the polls.
“I didn’t expect it,” said Hok. “It was challenging because your going up against an icon. He’s been in there for so long and well recepted rancher and businessman.
“I think I can bring a lot to the table and it’ll be a new experience. I’m looking forward to putting my ideas into action.”
When he was out talking to people during his campaign, county citizens have said to him they wanted change and a new voice on issues on water issues with Suffield waterline, the lack of cell coverage and Internet connections.
Ward 8 — Hok – 79 votes; Pahl – 47 votes.
McKenzie was every excited about hearing the news of her getting to be the first female on council for the next four years.
“Nervous and good all at the same time,” she said.
“I think it’s going to be a great thing. I don’t know what to expect but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
It was a wonderful experience talking to voters in her area because she met all kinds of new people she did not know before and had a chance to talk to them all.
Her focus will be to tackle the local cemeteries in the area and their upkeep.
Ward 1 — McKenzie – 73 votes; Art Squire – 52 votes; Shirley Roy – 28 votes.
Kurpjuweit said it was encouraging to see an additional 30 per cent voter turnout from the last election.
“It’s going to be a lot fun. I’m looking forward to getting to work,” said Kurpjuweit.
During the campaign, he focused less on the incumbent Coun. Garry Lentz and more on bringing fresh perspectives and new energy.
“I’m willing to work hand-in-hand with the existing water co-op and help to push that through,” he said.
“It’s never a bad thing to have fresh ideas and perspectives and people that have the ability to provide and make an impact now. I think a lot of the people we talked to liked that idea. I think there’s a lot of excitment in the county.”
He would like to see a bigger push for getting the province involved in making the roads safer and building a stonrger relationship with surrounding municipalities.
Ward 4 — Kurpjuweit – 137 votes; Garry Lentz – 120 votes.
Ward 7 — Richard Oster – 199 votes; Garry Proctor – 63 votes.