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Elliot Lake has a new mayor after elected man removed

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In a unanimous decision Monday night from Elliot Lake City Council, the city now has a new mayor.

Interim Mayor Andrew Wannan will assume the permanent role for the rest of the term after a unanimous vote by council.

Councillor Andrew Wannan has served as acting mayor of the City of Elliot Lake since former Mayor Chris Patrie was removed from office by the courts. (Supplied/City of Elliot Lake)

“I think it’s been said on several occasions through this first year of our term, this was not really the council that this group had hoped it would be,” said Coun. Norman Mann.

“Acting Mayor Wannan, in the first year and to this point as well, has led us with no hesitation whatsoever and I, in no way, want to change that. I viewed him as our mayor for this last year and will for the balance of this term. Thank you for stepping up your worship, I look forward to working with you.”

Wannan stepped up to the role of interim mayor after the former mayor, Chris Patrie, had been removed from office for violating conflict of interest laws.

Patrie lost his appeal late last year of the court decision.

The City of Elliot Lake still has yet to disclose how much was spent in legal fees throughout the ordeal.

A veterinarian, by profession, Wannan’s been filling the role since January of last year.

“Counc. Wannan has led this team throughout the past year and we’ve had quite a few challenges throughout the year and I can’t think of a better person to lead us through the balance of this term,” said Coun. Charles Flintoff.

Last month, council members rejected the idea of a special  election citing costs and decided they would be able to make the decision on their own. Provincial law dictated they had to enact a new bylaw with their decision by February 13, 2024.

“Acting Mayor Wannan has led us very well in the past year and I would be proud to support him,” said Coun. Rick Bull.

Wannan allowed his name to stand for nomination and accepted his new role.

He didn’t have to take an oath of office, having already taken one. The city’s clerk then presented him with the chain of office.

“I would like to acknowledge anyone that puts their hand forward to sit in a position like this,” said Wannan.

“This year has been challenging, it’s highly unusual. We’ve all had our roles set and I think we’ve accomplished a lot. I find this position quite rewarding, even if I wasn’t the mayor, as a councillor, the relationships we’ve established with city staff and as a council are very rewarding and I find that the challenges that we face, whether they’re easy challenges, difficult challenges, that’s part of the draw in serving in this position.”

“As it was mentioned, the mayor had to step down and taking up the reins as a team, I’m very proud of this group of councillors and I really look forward to serving the next three years,” he added.

One of the first big challenges will be in addressing the beleaguered Centennial Arena.

Council will get an update on that Tuesday night.

The next municipal election will be in 2026.

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