Mayoral candidate pulls out of race, vies for spot on council
One of the city's mayoral candidates has announced he's pulling out of the election race and is now eying a spot on Edmonton's city council.
Don Koziak announced his candidacy for mayor just over a month ago. But he's had a change of heart and is competing for a spot on city council.
The announcement came Thursday morning where Koziak told media he changed his mind after hearing about council's decision to shut down the possibility of an airport plebiscite.
On Wednesday, the city clerk's office found that a recent petition from a lobby group was invalid and the closure of the airstrip will now go forward.
Koziak says he is emerging as a pro airport candidate but also admitted the reason he's now running as a councillor is because he had no shot winning the mayor's seat.
"I just could not see a scenario, which I would emerge the victor in an increasingly crowded picture," he said.
Koziak called council's handling of the issue "embarrassing". He also directly criticized his competitor in Ward 2, Kim Krushell for her stance on the airport issue. The councillor has been very vocal that the airstrip needs to be shut down.
"The events in the last two days have convinced me my talents and passions would be best deployed in a bid for city council in Ward 2," Koziak said.
Krushell says she welcomes the competition.
"I've certainly been told my stand on the airport issue is controversial and if I didn't change that stand there would be candidates running," she said.
Krushell goes on to say there are more issues than just the airport and defends the work she's done for the city.
"If the electorate in Ward 2 don't think I've done a good job for them I'm prepared to face those consequences."
The lobby group involved in the airport petition, Envision Edmonton says they're looking into the possibility of legal action related to council's recent decision. The group also says for now, their efforts are focused on backing pro-airport candidates leading up to the election.
"Those councillors responsible for taking away the rights of Edmontonians who put their name on that petition need to be ousted," said Mary Ann Stanway with Envision Edmonton.
The group hasn't said if the support for pro-airport candidates includes funding of any kind.
Koziak has run unsuccessfully for city council three times, and once for mayor. It is his hope that enough candidates with a pro-airport stance will win the election in an effort to see change.
Currently, nine of the 12 councillors want the airport closed.
With files from Scott Roberts