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Watson Lake councillor becomes town’s mayor

Chris Irvin takes 43 per cent of the vote in byelection
Chris Irvin has been elected as Watson Lake mayor. (Wikimedia Commons)

Watson Lake citizens have elected Chris Irvin as the town’s next mayor, according to unofficial results.

Irvin, currently a second-term councillor in the town who’s been serving as deputy mayor, won the Oct. 8 byelection in the southern Yukon community with 154 votes, or 43 per cent of the vote, compared to the 92 votes (26 per cent) his closest competitor, Gerry Bruce, brought in.

Behind Bruce were the final two candidates — Brenda Leach who had 62 ballots (17 per cent) cast in her favour and Justin Brown who walked away with 49 votes (14 per cent) in his favour.

Irvin will be sworn in as the town’s mayor in the coming weeks once election results are confirmed.

Watson Lake chief administrative officer Cam Lockwood said in an Oct. 9 email correspondence that town officials are looking into whether another byelection will be needed to fill the vacant councillor position that comes with Irvin’s election to the role of mayor.

“The town is working with YG to determine if we will be required to hold a second by-election, being it would put additional financial strain on the municipality for the short period that the position would be held for, being that the general election is less than a year away,” Lockwood explained, referencing municipal elections scheduled throughout the Yukon on Oct. 21, 2021.

In the 2018 municipal election, Irvin won his seat on council with 239 votes.

Both Leach and Brown’s names were also on the 2018 ballot when Leach sought a councillor position and Brown sought re-election as the town’s mayor.

Both were defeated with Brown losing the mayor’s seat to Cheryl O’Brien.

O’Brien resigned as mayor in August after she was charged with fraud over $5,000 and forgery.

Court documents allege O’Brien defrauded the Watson Lake Riding Association and made out cheques to herself “to the prejudice” of the association between May 20 and July 29.

The matter has not yet been heard in court.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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