Town of Onoway welcomed a new face to its Town Council on Monday Night, as Shelia Pockett was elected following the September 11th by-election vote. Pockett, who ran as a candidate in a by-election, will be taking over from the vacancy left by first-term councillor Robert Winterford, who resigned from Council in May.
In a closely contested race, Shelia Pockett emerged as the victor, edging out her opponents Sheila Doka and Julianna Merritt. The final vote count saw Pockett secure 66 votes, while Sheila Doka followed closely with 62 votes, and Julianna Merritt secured 53 votes, landing her in third place.
The election was marked by a high level of civic engagement, with residents of the community turning out in significant numbers to cast their ballots and have their voices heard.
Alongside the by-election, The Town of Onoway also held a non-binding referendum on the question of whether to conduct a forensic audit of the community. The referendum results indicated an overwhelming desire among residents to pursue this course of action, with 138 votes in favor of an audit. Only 36 votes were against, and 6 votes were rejected.
According to the Town of Onoway, the cost of a forensic audit could be in the range of $40,000 or more, depending on the parameter of the forensic audit.
The strong support for the forensic audit may underscore the community's commitment to transparency and financial accountability within the Town of Onoway. This referendum result sends a clear message to the newly elected Town Council, including Councillor Elect Shelia Pockett, about the priorities of the town's residents.
According to a Facebook Post, "A report to Council will follow as soon as practicable for a decision on the non-binding question."
With the appointment of Shelia Pockett to the Town Council and the resounding support for a forensic audit, the Town of Onoway enters a new phase of governance and accountability as it addresses the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.