Amarjeet Sohi (right) retained Ward 12, well ahead of challenger Chinwe Okelu (left) on Monday's civic election.
Photograph by: Larry Wong, file, EDMONTON JOURNAL
EDMONTON - Riding a wave of support for his work at bringing projects such as a multicultural centre and library to his ward, Amarjeet Sohi retained his Ward 12 seat, well ahead of challenger Chinwe Okelu.
“I am very humbled by this victory and promise to continue to work hard and continue to be open and accessible, to listen to people and their concerns,” he said.
“I will be their voice in council for the next four years, to make sure the priorities of Ward 12 are heard and listened to, as we continue to move forward on the LRT projects and continue to build welcoming and inclusive communities,” he added.
Sohi said he hopes the new council “will work collectively to build a strong and prosperous city.”
This is Sohi’s third victory, and Okelu’s fifth unsuccessful bid for council.
Okelu blamed his late entry into the race for his defeat.
“For the time we had and what we accomplished, I have no regrets. But if I had started earlier the result would have been totally different.”
He waited because he thought some other candidates would appear to take on Sohi, but they didn’t “so I said I’ll go, because I have run before.”
Okelu is against ever seeing a council seat decided by acclamation.
“If that starts happening in Edmonton, this city is going to be something else. People must exercise their democratic rights.”
Okelu, the founder of a mediation firm, said many people were unhappy with how the previous council behaved, making important decisions without adequate public consultation.
“But I heard the mayoral candidates say they are going to address that issue, so if that is the outcome of this whole election I think I will be more than pleased.”
Sohi said transportation is a key issue in Ward 12.
“A lot of people here are excited about the southeast LRT project, and the fact that it is getting to be shovel-ready. We have two-thirds of the funding in place and I am confident the provincial and federal governments will be part of this,” said Sohi, who has been a big supporter of the project.
The city still needs $515 million for the $1.8 billion line that will connect downtown with Mill Woods. Both Sohi and Okelu said during the campaign they would be open to exploring public-private funding options to close that gap.
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