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Community where no one wanted to be mayor gets a mayor, but only reluctantly

Last Updated Nov 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm PST

The Old Mills Park in Wellington, P.E.I is seen in this undated handout photo. Nobody wanted to be mayor, but Wellington, P.E.I., got one anyway.No one ran for mayor in Monday's province-wide municipal elections, so the provincial government simply appointed the outgoing mayor, Alcide Bernard, to a four-year term. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Alcide Bernard *MANDATORY CREDIT*

WELLINGTON, P.E.I. – Nobody wanted to be mayor, but Wellington, P.E.I., got one anyway.

There were no mayoral candidates in Monday’s province-wide municipal elections, so the provincial government simply appointed the outgoing mayor, Alcide Bernard, to a four-year term.

Bernard had not run for re-election — he decided he had done his time, and he “wanted to leave the opportunity for others this time.”

The job pays $1,600 a year.

Wellington — with a population of 400 — is nestled in the heart of P.E.I.’s Acadian community, about a 20-minute drive from Summerside.

The small community also had difficulty filling five council vacancies.

Bernard said only one councillor re-offered, so that councillor went door to door until the five vacancies were filled.

On Thursday, Communities Minister Richard Brown appointed Bernard as mayor through Dec. 6, 2022.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Alcide Bernard for his past service as mayor of the Rural Municipality of Wellington and thank him for accepting this appointment,” Brown said in a statement.

Bernard said last month he had earlier served as a municipal councillor, and was approaching retirement age and wanted to take a break.

He acknowledged being a mayor was a demanding job, and noted the village’s aging population could also be a factor in the lack of a candidate.

“Even though Wellington has maintained about the same population over the past 20 or so years, people are aging,” he said last month.

“It’s a common phenomenon, and there’s probably fewer people who are able to assume leadership roles.”