Deb Kozak (left) is the mayor-elect of Nelson. She will be one of seven female mayors in West Kootenay during the next term.

Number of women elected in West Kootenay holds steady

The number of women elected to local office in West Kootenay/Boundary on Saturday was about the same as three years ago.

The number of women elected to local office in West Kootenay/Boundary on Saturday was about the same as three years ago, but several firsts were established.

Overall, 62 women were voted in as mayors, councillors, regional directors and school trustees (45.6 per cent of the total) compared to 64 in 2011. Nearly 73 per cent of women who ran for office this time were elected, compared to 68 per cent last time.

Seven of 16 municipalities will have female mayors — breaking the previous record of six set in 2011 — while 30 women will serve on councils, down from 32 in the previous election.

Women will form a majority on six municipal councils, the same number as before.

A woman was chosen as mayor in seven of the eight communities where one ran.

Nelson elected Deb Kozak as its first female mayor, leaving Trail and Warfield as the only places that have never had a woman serve as mayor. However, there were encouraging signs on both of those fronts: for the first time, three women were elected to Trail council — Lisa Pasin, Carol Dobie, and incumbent Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson — and for the second time, a woman topped the polls (Pasin). Only one woman — Dianne Langman — ran in Warfield, but she also finished at the top.

Rossland elected its second female mayor in Kathy Moore, although she will be the lone female on council, as fellow mayoral challenger Jill Spearn was the only other woman in the race. Rossland’s loss of three women from council will be the highest drop of any local municipality.

On the flip side, Grand Forks saw the greatest increase, going from one woman in 2011 to four in 2014.

New Denver mayor Ann Bunka and Fruitvale mayor Patricia Cecchini were both returned by acclamation, while Nakusp mayor Karen Hamling was re-elected. During the next term, Hamling will become the village’s longest serving mayor, beating former mayor Rosemarie Johnson’s record of 12 years.

Meanwhile, Kaslo elected its second woman mayor in longtime councillor Suzan Hewat and Slocan elected its fourth in Jessica Lunn, who narrowly defeated fellow incumbent councillor Hillary Elliott. For the last two terms, Slocan has had an all-female council. That streak has been broken, but women will still hold a majority of seats.

The greatest number of elected women are in Nelson and Grand Forks, with four each, while the fewest are in Midway, Rossland, Salmo, and Warfield, with one each. While it took Nelson 96 years to elect a woman as mayor after they became eligible to run, women have formed a majority on council since 2008.

Seven women secured seats as regional district directors this time, up from five in 2011, while 18 were elected school trustees, down from 21.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser

Just Posted

Presenting the Graduates of 2018

BCSS celebrated the 2018 grads last weekend.

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

Rock Creek Community Medical celebrates 40 years

The society started with a donation of land.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

The only firestorm in Trail was on social media

Power outage set off alarms at Teck Trail; company says no fire or flooding

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Aboriginal leaders say federal government needs to pitch in too

Teck donates $1 million to College of the Rockies

Investment in facilities and student scholarships boosts regional trades training

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Most Read