Year in Review: Municipal elections brings new leadership to the Valley

The City of Duncan’s new council was sworn in on Nov. 5. Sitting is Mayor Michelle Staples and, from back left, are councillors Tom Duncan, Stacy Middlemiss, Garry Bruce, Jenni Capps and Robert Brooke. Missing from the photo is Carol Newington. (Robert Barron/Citizen)The City of Duncan’s new council was sworn in on Nov. 5. Sitting is Mayor Michelle Staples and, from back left, are councillors Tom Duncan, Stacy Middlemiss, Garry Bruce, Jenni Capps and Robert Brooke. Missing from the photo is Carol Newington. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
North Cowichan’s new council was sworn in on Nov. 7. Pictured is Mayor Al Siebring, sitting, back from left, are Robert Douglas, Rosalie Sawrie, Christopher Justice, Kate Marsh, Tek Manhas and Debra Toporowski. (Robert Barron/Citizen)North Cowichan’s new council was sworn in on Nov. 7. Pictured is Mayor Al Siebring, sitting, back from left, are Robert Douglas, Rosalie Sawrie, Christopher Justice, Kate Marsh, Tek Manhas and Debra Toporowski. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education was sworn in on Nov. 6. (Submitted)The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education was sworn in on Nov. 6. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan’s councillors and mayor stand together before they are sworn in. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)Lake Cowichan’s councillors and mayor stand together before they are sworn in. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Local governments in the Cowichan Valley had fresh new leaders and many new members after the municipal elections on Oct. 20, 2018.

Al Siebring, who has spent almost a decade on council in the Municipality of North Cowichan, won the mayor’s position with 3,017 votes in the election, just 10 votes ahead of long-time mayor Jon Lefebure, who had 3,007 votes in the preliminary results.

RELATED STORY: AL SIEBRING NEW MAYOR OF NORTH COWICHAN

North Cowichan’s new council also includes incumbent Rob Douglas, who took 4,223 votes, incumbent Kate Marsh with 3,821 votes, and newbies Christopher Justice with 3,486 votes, Tek Manhas with 3,010 votes, Rosalie Sawrie with 3,009 votes and Debra Toporowski with 2,916 votes.

Siebring, a former radio broadcaster and a past president of the BC Conservative Party, said on election night that he intended to get to work as quickly as possible to get the business of council on track under his stewardship.

“This council is an interesting mix of people, and I’ve gotten to know some of them during the election campaign,” he said.

“Nobody comes to the council table looking to make things worse for North Cowichan, so I’m looking forward to good things for our community. It should be an interesting four years on council.”

Michelle Staples, a Duncan city councillor for seven years, beat out runner-up Martin Barker 494 votes to 468 in the election to become the City of Duncan’s first female mayor.

RELATED STORY: STAPLES TO LEAD FRESH-FACED COUNCIL IN DUNCAN

The new mayor has been working with an almost completely rookie council since the election.

Tom Duncan was the only returning councillor and the other five have never held office previously.

After Duncan’s 750 votes, youthful Jenni Capps was the second-most vote-getter for council with 675.

The rest of Duncan’s new council consists of Bob Brooke, Garry Bruce, Stacy Middlemiss and Carol Newington.

At council’s swearing in ceremony in early November, Staples said she recognizes there’s a wide variety of thoughts and opinions among council members, but she believes the new council will work together towards common goals.

“We have a bit of everything at the table that cuts across the political spectrum and ages,” she said at the time.

“A lot of people are scared by what they see happening in the community in regards to homelessness and addictions, but we are not able to solve these problems at this table alone. We have to partner with other organizations and governments to find a way forward. These problems don’t know boundaries and it will take all of us working together to deal with them.”

Ian Morrison, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director on the board for Area F for 10 years and vice-chair of the board for the past year, was elected the new chairman of the CVRD at the new board’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 7.

RELATED STORY: IAN MORRISON NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AT CVRD

Morrison was challenged at the meeting for the chairperson position by Aaron Stone, the mayor of Ladysmith, and Klaus Kuhn, director for Youbou/Meade Lake.

Morrison said in an interview at the time that his priorities as chairman are second to the will of the board, but he’d like to build on the successes the district has had at improving community engagement and consultations.

He said he wants to take it to the next level and improve the public’s interactions with the CVRD even more.

“The organization itself is on a fairly firm footing, but there are specific areas where I think we can improve,” Morrison said.

“One of those is the time it takes for us to process development, zoning and other applications, which I would like to see sped up. The numbers of applications being received is increasing, but we need more human resources and that’s a problem.”

Other members of the CVRD’s new board include Area B’s Sierra Acton, who will also serve as vice-chairperson, Area A’s Blaise Salmon, Area C’s Mike Wilson, Area D’s Lori Iannidinardo, Area E’s Alison Nicholson, Area G’s Lynne Smith, Area H’s Mary Marcotte and Area I’s Klaus Kuhn.

Tim McGonigle represents the Town of Lake Cowichan at the board table, while the Town of Ladysmith is represented by Aaron Stone and the City of Duncan is represented by Michelle Staples.

Al Siebring, Debra Toporowski and Kate Marsh represent North Cowichan at the CVRD’s table.

In the Town of Lake Cowichan, Rod Peters became the new mayor, beating out incumbent Ross Forrest, and councillor Bob Day.

The town’s council was all familiar faces, with Tim McGonigle, Lorna Vomacka and Carolyne Austin returning to their seats at the council table, with former councillor Kristine Sandhu filling out the roster.

In the Cowichan Valley school board election, incumbents Rob Hutchins, Elizabeth Croft, Candace Spilsbury, Barb de Groot, Randy Doman and Joe Thorne were all re-elected, and they were joined by new trustee Johanne Kemmler.

RELATED STORY: SIX INCUMBENT TRUSTEES RETURN TO COWICHAN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Spilsbury, who has served six years as chairwoman of the board, was selected by the board as chair for another term.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A graphic design of the new RCMP detachment which will be located on a five-acre property bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road. (File graphic)
Heavy trucks not allowed shortcut during construction of RCMP detachment

North Cowichan won’t allow heavy trucks on Drinkwater Road where not designated

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Laketown Ranch to welcome campers this summer

Sunfest site will provide camping amenities between May and September

‘I chose my children’s breakfasts purely based on what dishes would fit best into the dishwasher.’ (Bobbi Venier photo)
Sarah Simpson Column: Delayed gratification and the benefits of efficiency

I was driving with just my daughter the other day and we… Continue reading

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

The frequent disruptions to water service in Chemainus are expected to be a lot less after North Cowichan replaces the Smiley Road water main. (File photo)
Smiley Road water main in Chemainus to be replaced

$890,000 project expected to be completed this spring

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Most Read