Campbell River officially has a new city council.
With Coun. Larry Samson electing not to seek to retain his seat in this year’s municipal election, it was already known before the voters went to the polls there would be at least one new face on council, but there will be, in fact, two.
Well, one new face and one that hasn’t been there for a while.
When all the votes were counted at the end of the night on Saturday, Michele Babchuk, Charlie Cornfield, Ron Kerr, Claire Moglove, Colleen Evans and Kermit Dahl were declared the winners of the municipal election.
Andy Adams, who had already been acclaimed as mayor, says, looking at the list, “it looks like a great team.”
“To have Michele and Charlie and Ron and Colleen back on brings some continuity, Claire brings back some experience and Kermit brings some fresh eyes and a new perspective – and another business perspective,” Adams said after the numbers came up on the screen in council chambers Saturday night.
Dahl was in council chambers when the announcement was made, as well.
He says he expects there will be a steep learning curve, but he’s up for the challenge, and he’s ready to bring a fresh perspective to council chambers.
“I’ll definitely be looking at things a little differently,” Dahl says. “I’ll be bringing the point of view of a business person. How we manage money. The difference of one per cent can be a huge thing. In business, when you increase your returned earnings, one per cent can be a pretty big number and when you control your expenses and cut one percent – especially when you’ve got a $70-million budget – that can be a pretty big number, too.”
Adams says there’s no time to dwell on the election, however. There’s a council meeting on Monday, after all.
“We’ll be here in council chambers on Monday night – the last meeting of the old council – and then we’ve got to be ready to go. Because we’re the only municipality to have our budget done before the fiscal year begins, and that means the day after the inaugural meeting, we start pre-budget meetings, so that’s just over two weeks from now.”
Newcomer Daniel Franklin, who received only 22.6 per cent of the vote, says he believes just because the election is over, doesn’t mean the people of Campbell River should just sit back and watch what council does for the next four years.
“Congratulations to all the candidates who ran, and thank you to all those who voted,” Franklin says. “A special thanks to my wife and my family for all the support. This newly elected council has the potential to make Campbell River an even better place to live than it already is. But in order for them to do this, the citizens of Campbell River need to get involved and make their voices heard. I believe that the mayor and the councillors want to represent the people of Campbell River, and want to hear from the people of Campbell River. Just because you have voted, doesn’t mean that your job is done.”
Overall, the turnout for this year’s municipal election was down significantly from the last municipal election, where 38.5 per cent of eligible voters came to the polls to cast a ballot.
This year, 6,522 voted either Saturday in person at the Sportsplex or Community Centre or in one of the advance polls held in the weeks leading up to general election day. Overall, that’s only 25 per cent of the approximately 25,670 estimated people who were eligible to cast a ballot in this year’s election.