Lots of new faces for North Cowichan

North Cowichan’s election, like the municipality itself, was big and many-faceted, but at the end of the night Saturday, Nov. 15, Jon Lefebure again emerged victorious from a tight mayoral race. His 3,234 votes edged past challenger John Koury’s 3,018 with third candidate Damir Wallener receiving 1,411.

Lefebure said he was excited and happy to be continuing as mayor.

"I especially like the fact that we have some bright new faces coming both at the council table and the CVRD," he said.

The campaign itself he called "challenging" but added he was grateful for all the support he received.

"We took the high road and stayed on track with having a progressive approach to local government," he said.

Lefebure said he’s also looking forward to working with the new council.

"It’s a balanced council across all viewpoints. I think that’s a very good formula because you really don’t want everybody singing from exactly the same songsheet," he said.

After the election, Koury, too, praised his workers for their efforts.

"I am proud of my team who nearly won the day and ran a stellar, principled campaign," he said, adding that he expected a close race. "I am very grateful for the citizens of North Cowichan who supported me this election and over the years of my service to them. I am presently plotting my new course," he said.

There was a real melee for council seats in North Cowichan with 20 candidates tussling for six seats.

Rob Douglas topped the councillor polls with 3,466 votes, followed by former mayor Tom Walker with 3,391 and council veterans Al Siebring with 3,053 and Kate Marsh with 2,987.

Douglas, who was successful in his second attempt at a council seat, thanked his team.

"We had probably 40 people volunteering, knocking on doors, making phone calls, organizing coffee parties. That support really made a huge difference."

He also credited a new social media campaign with creating a buzz among younger residents, bringing some of them out to the polls.

Douglas said he heard interesting issues raised when door-knocking.

"It was great to meet people and talk to them face to face. It gives you a different picture than you see in the letters to the editor.

Taxes and spending were issues but when you talk to people on their doorstep there were other issues as well. Water was one that certainly came up a lot," he said.

Maeve Maguire garnered 2,485 and Joyce Behnsen picked up 2,277 to round out the new council.

Close behind but not quite making the cut were Paul Fletcher and Greg Robson, followed by Dave Haywood, Ron Waller, Jenni Capps, Lura McCallum, George Gates, Jim Fane, Nick Caumanns, Peggy Bran, Jagtar Singh Mann, Heather Campbell, Laurie Thomson and Jeffrey Motley.

Also on the ballot was the question: Are you in favour of conducting a study to explore the costs and benefits of the amalgamation of the municipalities of North Cowichan and Duncan?

Voters decided to go ahead with that exploration by a tally of 4,446 to 2,065.