New Cowichan Valley Regional District directors hit the ground running

There will be lots of new blood on the Cowichan Valley Regional District board following last weekend’s elections, as four of five south end areas elected fresh faces.

In Area A, Kerry Davis (520 votes) defeated incumbent Mike Walker (291 votes).

In areas B and C incumbents Bruce Fraser and Gerry Giles, respectively, chose not to seek re-election.

Area B, Shawnigan Lake, was won by Sonia Furstenau with 774 votes, well ahead of challengers Lois Morrow (331 votes), Brent Beach (92 votes), Larry Jorginson (92 votes) Robert Arndt (39 votes) and Bill Savage (34 votes).

In Area C Matteus Clement (563 votes) won over Dara Quast (361 votes).

In Area E longtime incumbent director Loren Duncan was narrowly defeated by newcomer Alison Nicholson by a tally of 300 votes to 267 votes. Dan Ferguson finished with 176 votes, Janice MacAlister finished with 166 votes and Nathan Barker rounded out the list of candidates with 78 votes.

In Cowichan Bay Lori Iannidinardo survived a challenge from Currie Ellis by a vote of 615 to 321.

Area G, Saltair/Gulf Islands, was once again won by incumbent Mel Dorey who, with 391 votes, defeated challengers Tom Hockin (251 votes) and John Sherry (78 votes).

Ian Morrison in Area F, Mary Marcotte in Area H and Klaus Kuhn in Area I were acclaimed.

It was just sinking in for some of the winners who will sit on the CVRD board for the first time.

"It’s quite amazing," said Davis.

"I thought it was going to be close. It’s been quite a blur and a ride ever since."

But he hasn’t been sitting around.

Davis and Furstenau got together and cycled to the Malahat First Nation this week to introduce themselves to officials there as they look forward to forming a good working relationship.

Davis said he thinks the approximately 1,000 doors he knocked on made a difference to the election outcome, and he’s got a list of issues to tackle from speaking with those community members. He thinks the personal contact also made a difference in convincing his area to approve funding for the Cowichan Sportsplex, which they did through referendum.

Davis is a proponent of supporting the Sportsplex, and he said once he explained it to people, they could see the upside of saying "yes."

Furstenau was equally blown away by her victory, and determined to dive right in.

"A combination of feeling incredible gratitude, particularly towards my campaign team, and feeling really humbled by the support from the community," she said.

Her first priority is preparing for the outcome of an appeals decision over whether or not South Island Aggregates will be allowed to accept contaminated soil on their site within the Shawnigan Lake watershed.

"We need to become very vocal and very clear in our reluctance to have that contaminated site in our community. We just cannot have it," Furstenau, long an opponent of the contaminated soil dumping, said.

Another thing on her "to-do" list is digging in to village development, namely working to fill up the empty storefronts in town.

Nicholson is soaking up the experience.

"It’s very exciting," she said. Top priorities for her are making sure the community is listened to, particularly with a review of the Area E official community plan coming up.

"I’d like to see the community leading things," Nicholson said. "It’s a real opportunity."

She’s also got her eye on regional issues like water protection.

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