Nominations closed Friday evening, Oct. 10 and in their wake, it could be seen that an impressive list of candidates has stepped up to run in the Cowichan Valley’s elections on Nov. 15.
Between the City of Duncan, the District of North Cowichan, the Town of Lake Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s nine areas, 87 candidates are running.
Only regional area directors Mary Marcotte (Area H), Ian Morrison (Area F) and Klaus Kuhn (Area I) were acclaimed, with former director Kuhn replacing Pat Weaver who did not run again.
Voters for every other possible kind of seat are facing some tough decisions.
In North Cowichan, there’s a three-way battle for mayor with incumbent Jon Lefebure taking on current councillor John Koury and Damir Wallener for the top job while a total of 20 candidates have stepped forward for the six councillor chairs.
Only two of those – Kate Marsh and Al Siebring – are incumbents but Tom Walker has previously served as mayor and Dave Haywood as councillor. Paul Fletcher has previously served on Duncan council.
Notably absent from that list are current councillors Ruth Hartmann, Jen Woike and Barb Lines, who are not running this time.
In the City of Duncan, Phil Kent will face off against Peter Gordon for mayor while a total of 14 hopefuls try for a council seat.
That list includes all six incumbents: Joe Thorne, Michelle Staples, Sharon Jackson, Martin Barker, Tom Duncan and Michelle Bell.
In Lake Cowichan, voters must decide among three candidates for mayor: Ross Forrest, Wendy Klyne or Kyle Wylie.
There, nine folks are trying for four council seats: with incumbents Bob Day, Frank Hornbrook and Tim McGonigle in the thick of it. Jayne Ingram is not running again.
Elections for Cowichan Valley Regional District area directors can sometimes be quiet affairs but in 2014, there’s plenty of action starting in Area A where incumbent Mike Walker is being challenged Kerry Davis.
Gerry Giles won’t be back to try for her Area C seat again but there’s still a fight brewing between Dara Quast and Matteus Clement.
In Area D, incumbent Lori Iannidinardo is opposed by Currie Ellis and in Area G, director Mel Dorey is looking at challenges from Tom Hockin and John Sherry.
But there are two regional barnburners shaping up in Area E and Area B. While incumbent Bruce Fraser won’t be fighting it out in Area B (Shawnigan Lake), a total of six candidates have stepped up to try for the seat.
Meanwhile in Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora (Area E), incumbent Loren Duncan has been challenged by Nathan Barker, Dan Ferguson, Janice MacAlister and Alison Nicholson. This year’s school board elections are unusual because the previous board was fired July 1, 2012 for sending in an unbalanced budget. Their place was taken by a trustee appointed by the provincial government, who reduced the number of trustees from nine to seven.
However, it’ll be back to business Dec. 1 as a new elected board takes is place around the table aptly named The Coffin for its unusual shape.
Throwing their hats in the ring are former trustees Candace Spilsbury, Deb Foster, Barb DeGroot, Ellen Oxman, Cathy Schmidt and Amrik Prihar.
They are joined by a mix of hopefuls from all over the Valley, notably including former Ladysmith mayor Rob Hutchins, who is also trying for a seat on Ladysmith council, and Duncan councillor Thorne, who is also trying to get back on Duncan council.
Voters in many parts of the Valley will also be deciding on referendum questions, both binding and non-binding, ranging from a request to help finance the Cowichan Sportsplex to starting a study on amalgamation of the District of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan.