Municipal Elections 2014
As Vancouver's mayor won a decisive victory in this weekend's municipal election, a number of communities across the province ousted their current mayors, particularly on Vancouver Island, where several high-profile incumbents went down in defeat.
In Victoria, two-term Mayor Dean Fortin was defeated by Lisa Helps by a slim margin of just 89 votes.
Helps marked her election win at her campaign headquarters in Victoria by declaring a "new era" for the province's capital city.
Fortin, who was elected mayor in 2008, thanked his supporters in a message posted to Facebook.
"It was a true privilege to have been mayor and advance important issues like housing and the environment and our local economy," he wrote.
"The commitment to community is core to who I am, and I am looking forward to whatever the next chapter looks like for me."
In nearby Saanich, longtime Mayor Frank Leonard, who was first elected in 1996, was defeated by Richard Atwell. Leonard received 47 per cent of the vote, compared with 51 per cent for Atwell.
Leonard reflected on the loss in a post on Twitter.
"I see the sun rising over Saanich this morning, and life goes on," he wrote."Thanks for all your comments. I'm very grateful for every day I was mayor."
In Nanaimo, Bill MacKay won the mayor's race with 30 per cent of the vote in a crowded race of 10 candidates. The city's current mayor, John Ruttan, who was first elected in 2008, placed fourth with 15 per cent.
Incumbent mayors were also defeated in Port Alberni, Campbell River and Ucluelet.
In Port Hardy, the city's previous mayor, Bev Parnham, died earlier this year. She will be replaced by Hank Bood.
Several Interior communities will be getting new mayors, including Kelowna, where Mayor Walter Gray did not seek re-election.
Gray will be replaced by Colin Basran, a realtor and former TV news reporter, who won with 57 per cent of the vote.
"I envision the next mantra (for the city) to be 'open to opportunity,' because opportunity not only means economic opportunity, but it also means social opportunities," said Basran. "We need to be a well-balanced community."
Mayors in Penticton and Vernon did not seek additional terms. Andrew Jakubeit won in Penticton, while Akbal Mund will be mayor in Vernon.
Mund, a former owner of several Wendy's fast-food restaurants and former chair of the 2012 B.C. Winter Games, acknowledged the learning curve that awaits him.
"There's a few other politicians who I'll be picking their brains," he said. "It's not an easy job, I understand that, but I think I'm up to the task."
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar was re-elected with 78 per cent of the vote.
Incumbents in the region who were defeated include mayors in Enderby, Nelson, Cranbrook, Merritt, Kaslo and Peachland.
In the Vancouver-area, a closely watched race in Surrey, where three candidates were believed to be within reach of replacing outgoing mayor Dianne Watts, ended with Linda Hepner far ahead of her competitors. Hepner ran as the candidate for Watts' former party, Surrey First.
Hepner's nearest competitor was Doug McCallum, himself a former mayor of Surrey.
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman was defeated by Henry Braun, and in New Westminster, Mayor Wayne Wright was defeated by Jonathan X. Cote.
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, who has been in office since 2002 and has been making headlines recently with his opposition to a Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project, easily won re-election.
In the north and north-central regions of the province, Prince George Mayor Shari Green, who did not run for re-election, will be replaced by Lyn Hall.
Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem lost to Lee Brian by a margin of about 1,600 votes, while mayors in Williams Lake, Quesnel, Houston and Kitmat also lost their bids at re-election.
One new face will join Oliver Town Council as Petra Veintimilla managed to top the polls on Saturday in a race that included all four incumbents seeking re-election.
Veintimilla, an Oliver business owner, active local volunteer and former president of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, received 899 votes, easily the highest total. Incumbent Mo Doer garnered 837; Larry Schwartzenberger 758; and Jack Bennest 754. David Mattes just missed another term with 721 votes.
Veintimilla told Castanet on Sunday her first priority will be "to learn the ropes and settle in with the team who have been together for a few years now."
Amoung her priorities are making sure there enough funds in the budget for year-round bylaw enforcement. "We have had some problems there in the summer months." She looks forward to "breathing some new life into our town."
Veintimilla said she believed throughout the campaign that she had a decent chance at "getting a seat at the table. ... But it didn't enter my mind that I would come out on top."
She told the Oliver Daily News earlier: “I like to do my homework, I am up for a good debate on matters which affect the Town, and I don’t always go with the flow.”
There was no mayoral race in Oliver as incumbent Ron Hovanes was acclaimed.
Mayor Janice Brown and five council incumbents were returned on Saturday in Spallumcheen.
Brown, who easily defeated challenger Will Hansma 711 to 445, has been mayor for three years after serving 12 years as a councillor.
Brown said Sunday that her first priority will be to go back at the budget and "go line by line" to find relief for farmers who recently were saddled with a large tax increase thanks to provincial Bill 8.
As well, she said, preparation will continue for the four-laning of Highway 97 to Enderby. She said council is hopeful about the roadway after the province recently assured them the widening would go ahead "in the very near future."
Joining Brown back on council are incumbents Andrew Casson, Christine Fraser, Ed Hanoski, Joe Van Tienhoven and Todd York.
Rookie Christine Lemaire is the sole new face around the table.
Here are the results for Regional Districts including:
- Central Okanagan
- North Okanagan
Lake Country's longest serving mayor will add another term to his record. James Baker has won a fourth term, beating former councillor Jayson McCarthy 1215 votes to 990.
While obviously pleased with his victory, Baker says it's never a sure thing. "I always keep thinking I'm one vote behind and have to keep working," he says. "One never knows at a local government level what might turn people against you, but in this case I'm glad for the support that I have and that people have confidence we can continue doing good things."
Baker's priorities for the coming term include road improvements and a long-term transportation plan, infrastructure development, and forging a plan for Pelmewash Parkway, the old section of highway 97 between Winfield and Oyama which now belongs to the district.
The new council in Lake Country will have a mix of new and familiar faces. The two councillors at large are Penny Gambell and Bill Scarrow. Gambell, entering her fourth term, topped the polling with 1331 votes. Bill Scarrow, a former councillor, returns with 920 votes. Also running for councillor at large were Don Rae with 787 votes, Richard Issler with 494 and Arlene Brenner with 466.
In the Winfield ward, incumbent Rob Geier handily beat Randy rose, 783 votes to 248. Rose, the former chief administration officer at the district, has been critical of the current council's fiscal policies, claiming $1 million in waste during the recent reorganization within the district. Mayor Baker has been just as vocal in disputing Rose's claims.
The Okanagan Centre ward has a new representative in Blair Ireland. He received 344 votes, ousting incumbent Lisa Cameron who had 282 votes. Recent controversy in the ward over council's decision to remove private docks and other structures from the public waterfront in Okanagan Centre created a clear split between the two. Cameron supported the measure, while Ireland felt there had been inadequate consultation with the owners of the structures. While the issue was settled before the election, the issue divided the community.
In Oyama, incumbent Owen Dickie returns to council with 278 votes, defeating Keli Westgate, a newcomer to Oyama, who polled 127. Among Dickie's priorities is improved signage along the new section of highway 97 that now bypasses Oyama. He feels it's too difficult for drivers to find the community and that's had a negative impact on the ward. He's also concerned about the environment, pointing out that according to Interior Health, half of Oyama's septic systems are in poor shape.
The Carr's Landing ward was won by acclamation by Matt Vader, who is new to council. The incumbent, Barb Leamont, did not run.
The Lake Country school trustee seat was also won by acclamation, with Deb Butler returning to the job.
Osoyoos will get its new fire hall and a mostly new Town Council after Saturday’s election.
A referendum to borrow nearly $6 million for the new fire hall passed with about 58 percent of the vote in favour. And three new faces will join the four-person council along with a rookie mayor.
Sue McKortoff, who served the last term as a councilor, jumped into the race for mayor on the final day of nominations, when incumbent Stu Wells just as abruptly dropped out of the race. With the clear endorsement of Wells, McKortoff cruised to victory with nearly 80 percent of the vote.
“I’m delighted to have this role ahead of me and I’m looking forward to getting to know the new council,” she said following the vote count.
Ray Vandenberg, who helped lead the successful fight to force the fire hall referendum, couldn’t translate that success into a winning run at the mayor’s chair.
Local businessman and sole incumbent Councilor C.J. Rhodes easily held his seat.
He will be joined by local realtor Carol Youngberg and tourism industry consultant Mike Campol, who each were successful in their first attempts at public office. Jim King, an active local volunteer, was successful in his second attempt, having lost by fewer than 60 votes in 2011.
One result that surprised some was the poor showing of former councilor, mayor and MLA John Slater. He finished more than 400 votes out of the last council spot.
He was trying to revive a political career that ended ignominiously when he was dropped by the provincial Liberals in 2013 after serving a term as MLA for Boundary-Similkameen.
Sharon Sheperd's comeback was derailed Saturday night by Colin Basran. The former mayor had 10,358 votes compared to Basran's 16,755 a difference of 6,397.
Sheperd admitted defeat early Saturday night as the results were trickling in. We reached her by phone.
Kelowna’s municipal government had a good shake up this election with a new young mayor and four new faces on council.
The city, often criticized for its aging politicians, voted for a younger group to take lead for the next four years.
In the mayoral race, that wasn’t quite as close as some expected, 37-year-old Colin Basran took the top seat with a healthy 57 per cent of the votes.
“I was completely freaking out, I was a nervous wreck, but at the end of the day I am thrilled with the result and I couldn’t be happier,” shared a beaming Basran. “It feels surreal. Hopefully I can just relax a little bit now.”
Basran’s only significant competition came from of two-time former mayor Sharon Shepherd, who conceded defeat shortly before 9 p.m. taking 35 per cent of the votes cast.
“The support that I have had for this campaign has been outstanding,” said Shepherd. “I am obviously disappointed. It is has been a lot of hard work in a short time, but I don’t feel any regret in putting my name forward and I would like to congratulate Colin and the new council.”
The remaining six mayoral candidates did not appear to have a chance, taking less than 10 per cent of the total votes counted combined.
Incumbent city councillors Luke Stack, Gail Given, Mohini Singh and Maxine DeHart were re-elected. While four new faces earned the remaining council seats including Ryan Donn, Tracy Gray, Charles Hodge and Brad Sieben
The often outspoken and controversial ‘Taxpayers First Party’ was unable to secure any seat on council, with all five candidates falling short in votes.
While other declared political party, Prosper Kelowna, also lost a chance to have a member on council with its candidates’ nearly 5,000 votes behind winning a seat.
The unofficial numbers show that 29,661 votes were cast out of the 99,000 eligible in the City of Kelowna, just under 30 per cent.
Official numbers are expected this week once all voting documents have been reviewed.
Vernon residents did not focus on political experience when choosing their new mayor, voting in first time politician Akbal Mund.
Mund, who is well known for his community work including President of the Greater Vernon 2012 Winter Games and Co-Founder of Wendy's Dreamlift Day, took a healthy lead in the polls with 41 per cent of the votes.
He won the mayoral seat with 3,714 votes beating out fellow first time politician Victor Cumming who grabbed 3,089 ballots or 34 per cent of the votes tallied.
Trailing behind was incumbent city councillor Mary-Jo O’Keefe, who had hoped to be Vernon’s next mayor but fell short, snagging 1,312 votes or just under 15 per cent.
Fellow mayor hopefuls Klaus Tibes and Jaime Morrow stayed far behind, taking only 1,011 and 442 votes respectively.
On council, incumbent councillors Brian Quiring, Bob Spiers, Juliette Cunningham and Catherine Lord were easily re-elected earning well over 4,000 votes each.
They will be joined by two newcomers, Dalvir Nahal and Scott Anderson, who grabbed just under 4,000 votes each to win their spot.
First time candidate Kari Gares fell just short of a council seat by 224 votes, trailed by the other seven council hopefuls
The unofficial numbers show that 9,568 votes were cast out of the 32,045 eligible in the City of Vernon, just under 30 per cent.
Official numbers are expected this week once all voting documents have been reviewed.
More Municipal Elections 2014 articles