The same night Coquitlam’s city manager spoke about the lack of a byelection to replace Bonita Zarrillo, city council also named its administrators for the Oct. 15, 2022, general election.
Council unanimously appointed — without comment — Stephanie Lam as the chief election officer and Jay Gilbert as the deputy chief election officer for the fall vote (Coun. Dennis Marsden was not at the March 28 meeting).
According to a report from Stephanie James, the city’s general manager of legislative services, planning for the general election is now underway and is budgeted to cost $400,000.
No Coquitlam residents have officially declared their candidacy with the Tri-City News.
Prior to the appointments on Monday, city manager Peter Steblin told council that a byelection to replace Zarrillo, who was elected as the NDP MP for Port Moody-Coquitlam last September, isn’t “practical or desirable” despite it being provincially legislated.
The city, as well as every member on council, is being sued by a former city councillor and political activist for not conducting a byelection as per the Local Government Act.
It states that a byelection must be held if there is a vacancy on a municipal council or school board before Jan. 1 of the general election year; Zarrillo resigned on Oct. 1, 2021.
A byelection is estimated to cost around $200,000.