Wetaskiwin resident Debby Hunker is pushing forward a recall petition for Mayor Tyler Gandam.Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wetaskiwin resident Debby Hunker is pushing forward a recall petition for Mayor Tyler Gandam. 

On Feb. 8, Hunker officially initiated the petition to remove the mayor from his position. 

In an interview with the Pipestone Flyer, Hunker said that Mayor Gandam is not listening to residents’ concerns. 

“I think we have lost confidence that he’s actually looking out for the best interest of the citizens of the Wetaskiwin,” Hunker said. 

“There are a lot of decisions that are being made, first and foremost, the shelter. It doesn’t seem to matter at all what we do or say.” 

Meanwhile, Wetaskiwin Mayor, Tyler Gandam, called the recall petition a ‘distraction’ for elected officails while they are doing their job. 

“When community members don’t agree with a decision of Council, being able to petition to have them removed is a waste of time.” Gandam said.

Gandam further added that the residents of Wetaskiwin has the right not to re-elect him after the end of his term. 

“We’re elected every four years at the will of our residents. If I’m not serving my community the way they think I should, I won’t get re-elected.” 

In a press release, city administration said that Hunker has 60 days to collect signatures and submit them to the city. 

The period for the process runs from Feb. 12 until April 12. 

The recall petition must be signed by the elector’s equivalent to 40 per cent of the city’s population. 

According to Municipal Affairs, the petition will be measured against a population total of 12,594, requiring 5,038 signatures. 

The release adds, “only those eligible to vote for the elected official named in the notice of recall petition may sign the petition. “ 

As per the release, if the petition is declared sufficient, then the mayor will be removed from his position. 

Hunker says that even if they succeed in removing the mayor from his position, it won’t solve the problems of the city overnight, but that would be a good start. 

“Maybe we have a chance to make some changes and start getting on the track to bring the city back up to where it was at one time. People love living here. People love the city,” she said. 

Hunker added that on Feb. 13 people have already been lining up to sign the petition. She explained that her team has set up in an old store at 4704 50 Street, where people are coming to sign the petition. 

“Things are going really well. So far, I am happy with how things are going,” she added. 

Hunker says the shelter issue is one of the main reasons she felt compelled to file the recall petition. 

“We’re going the best we can do. There’s a lot of support. Since September that I’ve started fighting back against the homeless shelter, pretty much every person that I’ve ever talked to has said we need to get rid of the mayor.” 

In in a recent Facebook video – Mayor Gandam said that the emergency shelter is operating based on a contract between the province and the organization, and not the city. 

By Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 14, 2024 at 11:44

This item reprinted with permission from   Ponoka News   Ponoka News, Alberta

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