Bob Wells is the new mayor of Courtenay.
According to unofficial results in Saturday’s election, he collected 2,950 votes. Larry Jangula, who served as mayor the last two terms, earned 2,512 votes. Harold Long garnered 1,165 and Erik Eriksson 647.
“It’s not a landslide. It’s not like I was double everybody else,” said Wells, who was a member of council the last term. “I want to thank everybody that came out and voted, those people who supported me. Hopefully we got our voter percentage up over 32 per cent.”
Voter turnout was 37 per cent in Courtenay.
“I look forward to the team we have,” Wells added. “I think we have a very strong team, and it’s from across the spectrum. I think we’re going to be able to work together really well. I just want to thank all the candidates that put all their time and effort into this.”
Two newcomers topped the polls in councillor voting: Will Cole-Hamilton had 3,556 votes and Melanie McCollum had 3,213. David Frisch — who topped the polls in 2014 — retained his seat with 3,182 votes. Fellow incumbent Manno Theos was fourth in voting with 3,149. Wendy Morin becomes another new member of council with 3,044 votes, and incumbent Doug Hillian earned 2,827 votes.
Hillian, who will be entering his fourth term on council, credits all mayoral and council candidates for their efforts during the campaign.
“They’re all deserving of our admiration for putting themselves into this,” Hillian said. “I’m very, very grateful to the voters for giving me another chance. There was quite clearly a wave of change in the air. I’m very pleased with the results. I think we have a strong council.”
He feels the campaigns of those elected reflect some of the changing demographic of the community.
Hillian thanks Jangula for his many years of service.
“While we didn’t agree all the time, we worked together on a lot of initiatives, and I think we owe him a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices that he’s made for the sake of the city.”
Hillian said he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and do his part to tackle issues such as housing, transportation, taxation and the development process.
Jangula could not be reached for comment.
Janice Caton and Kathleen Hawksby have been acclaimed as the School District 71 trustees for the city of Courtenay.
This year’s ballot included a non-binding referendum to determine if Courtenay residents favour a study to review governance structures. The referendum passed overwhelmingly, with 4,734 votes in favour and 1,494 votes opposed.