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UPDATED: Byelection set for Oct. 26

Coquitlam voters will head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 26 to elect two new city councillors.

Coquitlam voters will head to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 26 to elect two new city councillors.

The byelection is being held after former councillors Linda Reimer and Selina Robinson were elected MLAs in the ridings of Port Moody-Coquitlam and Coquitlam-Maillardville respectively.

Both resigned at the request of city council earlier this month; council did not accept their requests for leaves of absence until January, which would have prevented a byelection.

In an early Tuesday morning vote at a meeting that started Monday evening - and with no debate on the topic - city council formally set the byelection date and appointed deputy city clerk Kerri Lore as the chief election officer and Lauren Hewson, the manager of information, privacy and administrative services, as deputy chief election officer, effective Aug. 12.

Under the provincial Local Government Act, a byelection must be called within 80 days after the election officers are appointed.

The nomination period for candidates to submit their paperwork to city hall will be from Sept. 10 to 20 and nomination packages will be available for pick-up starting the middle of next month.

The cost to stage a byelection is around $150,000. In Coquitlam, council has an election reserve fund, which is currently at around $639,000.

The byelection will be the third in as many council terms. In 2007, a vote was held mid-term to replace former councillor Louella Hollington, who retired to Vancouver Island; and in 2010, a byelection was called to fill the seat left vacant by former councillor Fin Donnelly, who was elected NDP MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam. Coun. Neal Nicholson won on both occasions, with the turnout averaging around 6% for each vote.

Meanwhile, city council on Tuesday morning - the last meeting before the summer break - asked the city's solicitor to work with community groups wanting to advertise their all-candidates' meetings.

Mayor Richard Stewart called a proposal to limit signage for their meetings "too prescriptive" and suggested a policy be in place in September, a month before the byelection.

The issue came up following this spring's provincial election when several signs to all-candidates' meetings went up on city property or on telephone poles, contrary to city bylaws.

Last month, a representative from the Westwood Plateau Community Association asked council-in-committee for clarification after its signs were removed and the organization was fined.

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