The results of the 2014 local government elections are in and they bring a new director for Area E, a new mayor for Greenwood and the status quo in Midway.
Vicki Gee has taken the Area E regional director seat from Bill Baird, a seat he has held for the past 22 years. “I am so honoured to be elected and I am looking forward to working with our communities on our vision,” she said.
She told the Times she spent Saturday night at home waiting for the phone call, which came in around 9:30. The official count released on Wednesday morning showed Gee beat Baird 232 to 185. Rock Creek businessman Bill Bosovich finished third with 164 votes. Turnout was 39.5 per cent of eligible voters.
These numbers differ from the unofficial results released on Saturday night because of a reporting error from the Greenwood polling station, where the total vote from both the advance and election day polls was reported as the count for the advance poll alone.
Gee says her short-term plans are to spend the next month familiarizing herself as much as possible ahead of time and meeting with people and organizations. “I am going to try to meet with all of the local officials as soon as I can to look at common areas of interest,” Gee said.
“One of the things that I am looking at right away is not only what regional directors in RDKB but in other regional districts around the province about how they are making decisions about their grant-in-aid. I think we need a formal criteria and I am just really concerned about making the best use of those dollars.”
Outgoing director Bill Baird congratulated Gee, saying, “I have enjoyed the last 22 years. I wish Vicki luck and I thank all of my supporters over the years.”
When speaking of the job that Gee will take over, he pointed to Big White’s Official Community Plan in the north, Anaconda water in the east and Anarchist Mountain fire protection in the west as issues that will have to be dealt with.
No change in Midway
Midway Mayor Randy Kappes was unopposed in the election, while six candidates (including the four incumbents) ran for council. All four incumbents were returned to office. Topping the polls was Richard Dunsdon with 167 votes, followed by Darrin Metcalf 148, Gary Schierbeck 139, and Marguerite Rotvold 126. Martin Fromme received 114 votes and Earl Lehmann 71. Voter turnout in Midway was pegged at 42 per cent.
“This council has worked very well together in the past,” Kappes told the Times following the election. “I look forward to another four years working with them making some more progress and working toward a brighter future.”
Greenwood sees 80 per cent turnout
Greenwood Mayor Nipper Kettle was replaced by first-time candidate Ed Smith and rookie candidate Nola Tutti took the most votes in the five-candidate race to fill the four seats at the table. With 290 votes, Tutti finished far ahead of the three incumbents on the ballot who were all re-elected: Lee Cudworth 239, Colleen Lang 214 and Darla Ashton 213. First-time candidate Christopher Yates came in very close with 210 votes.
Councillor Barry Noll took a run at the mayor’s chair but, with only 75 votes, came in well back of Smith at 159 and Kettle at 142.
In a post-election interview with the Times, Kettle said it was too bad that the vote was split. “Had there not been the third person there, it could have gone either way.
“I am really concerned about moving forward with this water bottling company,” Kettle said. “I would really hate to see us lose that golden opportunity. We as a council have been working on that and I really hope that moves forward in a more quick way rather than seeing delays and that kind of thing. That’s an opportunity that for Greenwood is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime offer.”
For his part, Smith says he has a lot to offer to the city. “I am looking forward to working with the people.”
The polls closed at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, but Smith said it was almost another three hours before the count was completed. He said votes were counted in lots of 50, and when about 250 of the 376 mayoralty ballots had been counted, he and Kettle were neck and neck.
When asked what he is looking forward to most in the next four years, Smith said, “Just the basics. Getting the city back on track and getting accountable for dollars. It seemed like everyone had their own agenda for the last two years. Leadership is a big thing to me.”
Smith said he’d campaigned hard and canvassed the whole city. He said one main theme that the voters wanted to talk about was what was happening with the proposed water bottling plant.
“What are we doing with our water?” Smith asked. “Who’s selling? What are we doing? They [the voters] just don’t feel it was right to have that kind of thing sitting on the plate in camera and nobody knowing what to do. After all it is their water you know. We’ll see if we get that all out in the open and move forward.”
Student Vote results
Grade 4-7 students at West Boundary and Greenwood elementary schools held their own mock election. They hosted an all candidates forum the week before the election and had their own ballot boxes for the City of Greenwood mayor and council elections.
The results of their in-school poll were: Mayor Nipper Kettle elected with 22 votes, Ed Smith 11 and Barry Noll 9. For council they chose Christopher Yates, Colleen Lang, Darla Ashton and Nola Tutti.