Eleven candidates in running for Victoria council seat

It doesn’t look like COVID-19 has dampened people’s political ambitions.

Eleven candidates are lining up to run for one vacant seat on Victoria city council.

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Nominations closed at 4 p.m. Friday in the race to replace former Together Victoria councillor Laurel Collins, who resigned a year ago after winning the Victoria riding for the NDP in the 2019 federal election.

The byelection was initially scheduled for April 4, but Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson postponed the vote due to the pandemic. General voting will now take place on Dec. 12.

The 11 candidates to file papers by the deadline are: Stephen Andrew, Rob Duncan, Riga Godron, Stefanie Hardman, Bill Heflin, Jason Heit, Sean Leitenberg, Hailey McLeod, Keith Rosenberg, Alexander Schmid and Roshan Vickery.

Hardman, who won the Together Victoria nomination last January, is the only candidate representing an elector organization. If successful, she would join the other Together Victoria councillors Sarah Potts and Sharmarke Dubow, who were elected with Collins in 2018.

Voters will be able to cast ballots in person on general voting day at one of six polling stations or on any of the eight advance voting days at Crystal Garden. The city expects to release information Monday on how to obtain a mail-in ballot. Advance voting will begin Dec. 1.

City officials say voting places will have measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including capacity limits, hand sanitizing stations,protective barriers and frequent cleaning of voting stations. People will be encouraged to wear a face mask to vote.

Council has agreed to spend up to $430,000 on the byelection, but city staff hope to deliver it for less.

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