Josie Osborne, a 41-year-old biologist and founder and executive director of the Tofino Botanical Gardens Foundation, expects to be sworn in on Tuesday.
“I love Tofino,” said Osborne, who grew up in Nanaimo but has been a resident of Tofino for 14 years.
“I’m really grateful to [Community Minister Bill] Bennett for dealing with the situation.”
The District of Tofino received two ministerial orders on Friday — one allowing candidate George Smith to withdraw from the byelection and another that extended the deadline for chief election officer Joanne Flasch to declare the race by acclamation.
The minister’s orders were required under the Local Government Act because Smith withdrew from the race less than 29 days before the Jan. 26 election. That caused Flasch to miss the act’s deadline for declaring the race by acclamation.
Had Bennett not given the orders, the town would have had to absorb the $10,000 to $13,000 cost of running a byelection — even though there was only one candidate.
“It seems like a small amount of money compared to what a city like Toronto would spend, but it’s a significant amount of money for a small town,” Osborne said. “And it’s the principle behind it.”
The byelection was forced after former mayor Perry Schmunk announced his resignation in mid-November because the hours conflicted with his new job as marketing director of the Cactus Club Café restaurant chain.
The town has been using acting mayors since Jan. 1.
Osborne’s priorities include improving the municipal government’s relationship with the community, pushing for more affordable housing in the pricey tourist town, and bringing research and education opportunities into Tofino.
Osborne is married without children. She said she’s at a point in her life where she has the time and energy to focus all of her professional and volunteer experience — she has a master’s degree of resource management and is a member of the Association of Professional Biologists of B.C. — on new challenges.
“What Tofino needs right now is stability,” Osborne said.
Tofino’s chief administrative officer, Braden Smith, also resigned in November. He remains in his job until Feb. 1, when he and his family relocate to Winnipeg where he will be working as a senior planner.
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