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Sayward councillor resigns, cites ‘turmoil’ and ‘toxic environment’ in council

Coun. Kohen Gilkin was elected in 2022
Sayward councillor Kohen Gilkin was elected at age 18. Photo courtesy Kohen Gilkin

Sayward Councillor Kohen Gilkin has resigned his post effective March 11, citing turmoil and fighting at the village council table.

Gilkin posted a notice on his Facebook page, saying that, “I can no longer see myself contributing to our municipality in the current state we find our selfs (sic) in. We have been subject to turmoil almost straight out of the 2022 election, fighting, tearing our relationships apart amongst each other, and sending an embarrassing message to our constituents.

”The division amongst council is far too deep to save in my opinion,” he wrote. “My vision has been blurred with anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness, with the current way council is conducting itself.”

The Village of Sayward has been in the news concerning a discussion on whether or not the village should disincorporate and become part of the Strathcona Regional District. The Mirror has reached out to Mayor Mark Baker to speak about this, but has not received a reply. The village has also not posted any council meetings to Youtube or posted minutes or agendas to its website since Jan. 16, 2024.

Gilkin was elected for the first time in 2022. He was 18 years old when elected, and received the highest number of votes in the council election.

“I cannot sit around and watch this council continue to fester into a more toxic environment than it already is,” Gilkin wrote. “I must watch at a distance because I cannot stay here and go in circles of the arguments, the yelling, the childish behaviour, and the constant embarrassment displayed. It has become that of a toxic, and unhealthy workplace, one that has lost many good employees and elected officials over the years.”

No by-election has been set to replace Gilkin.

Earlier this year, two councillors in the village of Tahsis also resigned, their positions will be filled through a by-election in April.

The Mirror has reached out to Gilkin and Mayor Mark Baker for comment.

RELATED: Sayward’s 18-year-old councillor hopes to inspire other young people to become politically-involved

By-election scheduled in Tahsis to replace two resigned councillors