It felt like a ghost town in the City of Duncan on election night with nary a mayoral candidate to be located for photographs.
Michelle Staples was simply not available to meet with reporters.
“I’m far away, I’m in a house,” said the incoming mayor.
Staples, who beat out runner-up Martin Barker 494 votes to 468, was more than willing to send in some information and speak on the phone however.
“It was very close tonight between Martin and I, so I recognize that the community is in some ways looking at things through different perspectives,” she said over the phone. “There are a lot of diverse voices on council. I believe that there’s lots we can do by bringing those voices together.”
Staples said her first order of business is to keep working on all the irons that are already in the fire.
“Being on council seven years, it’s kind of a continuum,” she explained. “We will sit down and look at the direction council wants to head. That will involve talking to the community about where they want to do and how they want to be communicated with.”
Housing and homelessness are top-of-mind issues.
“”There is a lot of work to do at this point in time,” Staples noted. “But it’s a new group of people working together in a new way, taking those things forward.”
The rookie mayor will be will be working with an almost completely rookie council. Tom Duncan is the only returning councillor and the other five have never held office previously, according to Civic Info BC.
After Duncan’s 750, youthful Jenni Capps was the second-most vote-getter for council with 675.
“I’m so excited. I’m incredibly exited,” said Capps from a small celebratory gathering, “I could not be more excited.
“I am thrilled to have Michelle Staples as mayor and I am equally thrilled about our council lineup. I think it’s a fantastic group of individuals. I’m really exited to work with all of them and I think it’s incredible to have a female mayor and in particular, such an incredibly qualified one.
Not everyone’s night went as planned, however.
“I survived the night,” said mayoral candidate Martin Barker just before 9:30 p.m. He was the runner up behind Staples.
“I congratulate Michelle Staples. She didn’t run a negative pre-campaign which I honour, and congratulate all the winning candidates throughout the Valley and I hope they take good care of Duncan,” he said.
What’s next for Barker?
“Just to go back to my practice,” said the Chiropractor. “I’m probably going to step back from politics. It’s just a little too rough for me.”
Long-time councillor Sharon Jackson could not immediately be reached for comment.