Rob Douglas credited good old fashioned door-knocking as significant in his successful campaign to become the mayor of North Cowichan.
Douglas said he found it was a good means for getting his message directly to residents of the municipality and hearing first-hand about their concerns.
“We knocked on over 10,000 doors,” he said. “We were getting a great response but you never know.”
Douglas topped the voting among the three mayoral candidates with 3,503 votes. He was quick to credit his campaign team for their efforts.
“I’m grateful for all of them,” he said. “When you run for mayor, it’s not a one-person show. We had over 100 people volunteering. Without them, I definitely wouldn’t be here today.”
John Koury came second with 2,747 votes in his second attempt at running for mayor. He was also second to Jon Lefebure in 2014 and decided to give it another shot eight years later.
Douglas went in as a two-term councillor while Rosalie Sawrie had one term under her belt as a councillor before trying for the mayor’s post.
“It was a tough race running against the mayor of North Cowichan and two mayoral candidates,” noted Koury in a statement, referring to current mayor Al Siebring’s endorsement of Sawrie. “It wasn’t the result our team wanted for change, but it is the one we have to live with. I’m grateful to my team and supporters. We ran a great positive disciplined campaign and I wish the new council all the best.”
Sawrie was third with 2,195 votes following a campaign she termed as a ‘wild ride’.
“Congratulations to Rob Douglas, the newly elected members of council and to all the candidates who put their names forward in this election,” Sawrie indicated in a statement. “Democracy is about choice and running is not an easy thing to do. Thank you to everyone who voted. It’s a great honour that you would consider me to represent you.
“Local government plays a big role in our communities and your participation is so important,” she added. “And to my campaign team who supported me on this journey, I cannot thank you enough. Your passionate dedication, fierce caring, much-needed belly laughing, fun and friendship have been the absolute best part of this. It’s been a pleasure to serve the community on council and I look forward to continuing the good work in many other ways.”
Douglas ran on a campaign of priorities that included: tackling the housing crisis, defending the environment, ensuring a strong local economy, safe neighbourhoods and maintaining the rural character of the municipality.
Door-knocking definitely gave him a direct perspective on the issues foremost in the minds of voters.
“That was a real highlight of the whole campaign,” he said. “So many people were willing to take the time to talk about the issues they’re concerned about.
“A lot of concern about growing numbers of people experiencing homelessness is obviously a big concern. Related to that, but broader, a lack of affordable housing. Those were definitely the big ones and the effects of climate change.”
Along the campaign trail, Douglas had a rather unique 40th birthday during the all-candidates meeting in Crofton on Sept. 28.
His Saturday election is all still just sinking in and Sunday brought a reality check with work to be done on the ground.
“I spent all day Sunday picking up signs,” he chuckled.
The voter turnout in the municipality was tabbed at just 32.53 per cent despite the many pressing issues facing council that have divided the public like the Municipal Forest Reserve Review and the Official Community Plan.
“That’s kind of the sad part of the whole campaign, so many folks didn’t participate all across B.C.,” said Douglas.
With the demands of the job now requiring the mayor to be full-time, he intends to do that and make himself fully accessible to the public.
“The next steps will be to meet with individual councillors and see how we can work together over the next four years,” Douglas said.
The inaugural meeting of the newly-elected mayor and councillors takes place Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m.