Voters in Saanich have cast their ballot for change.
Coun. Fred Haynes upset incumbent Richar Atwell in the mayor’s race. Haynes received 15, 312 votes (47.1 per cent), followed by Atwell with 10,786 (33.1 per cent), Rob Wickson with 5,546 (17 per cent) and David Shebib with 324 (one per cent).
Rebecca Mersereau topped all council candidates with 18,416 votes (56.6%). She will be joined on council by Colin Plant 17,749 (54.5%), Ned Taylor 16,047 (49.3%), Susan Brice 15,981 (49.1%), Zac de Vries 13,631 (41.9%), Judy Brownoff 13,594 (41.8%), Nathalie Chambers 13,080 (40.2%) and Karen Harper 11,713 (36%).
All results are unofficial.
Haynes called the election historic and said he looks forward to working with a progressive council.
He said voters sent a resounding message in rejecting the Saanich slate of Atwell, Harper, Kathleen Burton, Ian Jessop and Cory Montgomery.
“Voters saw the real risks to democracy, ” Haynes said about the slate, which he called “repugnant.”
Haynes outlined priorities of housing, the environment and improved daycare opportunities. He said voters also saw the need to protect the BC Hydro lands on Kings Road as a long-term park for the district.
“We have the opportunity to have densification balanced with green space in an appropriate way for our children’s children, so in 50 years they can look back and be proud of this council,” he said.
In 2014 Richard Atwell sought the mayoralty and Fred Haynes sought a council seat. On election night they shared the same space. This time around it was different, with Fred at home in Prospect Lake and Atwell at the Fireside Grill with his United for Saanich co-candidates. “With all the candidates and the effort we put in, I think we were probably out-campaigned,” Atwell said. “Congratulations to Fred, He campaigned for four years.”
It was a hard go from the start, said Atwell, who started his term in 2014 making national news when he found Saanich had embedded spyware on his computer.
“I was only one vote. When [Karen] Harper came in I thought we did well. I wanted to build on that.”
Voters also approved spending $250,000 to establish a citizens’ assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria. The yes side garnered 16,852 votes (56%), while 13,274 voters cast their ballots against moving forward with the amalgamation study.
Kathleen Burton fell just short in her attempt for a council seat with 11,289 (34.7%), followed by Shawn Newby 11,010 (33.8), Rishi Sharma 10,127 (31.1%), Ian Jessop 9,606 (29.5%), Teale Phelps-Bondaroff 9,043 (27.8%), Cory Montgomery 8,695 (26.7%), Trevor Barry 5,541 (17%), Benjamin Allan 5,209 (16%), Art Pollard 3,675 (11.3%) and Vernon Lord 3,300 (10.1%).
Voter turnout left lineups all day at some polls, such as Glanford middle school. Election official Jenny Chan says it’s been a lineup at Glanford middle school since the morning and more than 1,500 people voted at Glanford with a lineup ahead of the 8 p.m. closure. “This is the most I’ve seen in three elections.”
Election official Jenny Chan says it’s been a lineup at Glanford middle school since 8AM this morning: 1,500 ppl voted at Glanford already. “This is the most I’ve seen in three elections.” pic.twitter.com/DmKJFCRiAM— Saanich News (@saanichnews) October 21, 2018