British Columbia

Lisa Helps re-elected mayor of Victoria, Fred Haynes wins Saanich from Richard Atwell

'What we heard on the door was a desire for a new mayor and disappointment in the current mayor,' says Haynes about his win over incumbent Richard Atwell in Saanich.

Somali refugee Sharmarke Dubow elected to city council in Victoria

Lisa Helps celebrates her re-election as mayor of Victoria on Oct. 20, 2018. (Liz McArthur/CBC)

In the City of Victoria, Lisa Helps has won her second term as mayor.

"I'm feeling great, I'm feeling really honoured," she said on Saturday night.

She defeated business consultant Stephen Hammond and political consultant Mike Geoghegan with 43 per cent of the vote

In 2014, Helps was elected the new mayor of Victoria, defeating two-term incumbent Dean Fortin by fewer than 100 votes. This time she won with 12,642 votes to Hammond's 8,717.

"My goal was to win by 2,000 votes, so we topped that by 1,000," she said.

The City of Victoria says voter turn out was 43.5 per cent.

In the past four years, Helps worked to get the new Johnson Street bridge built, worked with neighbouring municipalities to start construction on a sewage treatment plant for the capital region, and brokered a deal with the federal and provincial governments for affordable housing.

She was criticized, though, for implementing controversial bike lanes, the handling of an investigation into the city's disgraced former chief of police and the removal of the John A. Macdonald statue.

But in her victory speech, she said she was given a clear sign of support.

"It means that Victorians care profoundly about reconciliation and about realizing whose homelands the city is built on."

Hammond became a household name after forming a group called Mad As Hell to speak up for residents who felt city hall was not doing enough to protect neighbours from the side effects of a long-running tent city on the lawn of Victoria's courthouse.

Helps says she plans to reach out to Hammond and have him perhaps work with a committee aimed at what she calls, "repairing the social fabric."

Ten candidates ran for mayor in this election.

Victoria councillors

Victoria has eight council seats and they went to Ben Isitt (incumbent), Jeremy Loveday (incumbent), Laurel Collins, Geoff Young (incumbent), Sarah Potts, Charlyane Thornton-Joe (incumbent), Sharmarke Dubow, and Marianne Alto (incumbent).

Dubow is a Somalian refugee and Helps says the diversity of council is a good sign.

"We can see very clearly what the future of this city looks like. The future of this city looks inclusive."

Voters, along with those in Saanich, also passed a referendum to spend up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria.

Saanich

Incumbent Mayor Richard Atwell was defeated by Fred Haynes, a city councillor.

"What we heard on the door was a desire for a new mayor and disappointment in the current mayor," said Haynes about his win.

He won 47 per cent of the vote to Atwell's 33 per cent and said in a speech posted on Twitter that being elected is, "a huge, honour, delight and responsibility."

Haynes's platform focused on various measures to improve access to a mix of different types of housing.

Atwell faced a tumultuous term as mayor with police hacking allegations. He was also criticized over distributing an election brochure that looked too similar to city material.

Saanich has eight council seats and they were won by Rebecca J Mersereau, Colin Plant (incumbent), Ned Taylor, Susan Brice (incumbent), Zac de Vries (incumbent), Judy Brownoff (incumbent), Nathalie Chambers and Karen Harper (incumbent).

Voters also passed a referendum to spend up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria.

Langford

Stewart Young was re-elected as mayor of the fastest growing municipality in the Capital Regional District. He received 82 per cent of the vote over challenger Robert Fraser.

Langford has a population of more than 25,000 but, due to its growing size, has housing challenges. This fall, a homeless camp was set up in Goldstream Provincial Park, which lies in its boundaries.

Langford has six council seats and they were claimed by Lillian Szpak (incumbent), Denise Blackwell (incumbent), Norma Stewart, Lanny Seaton (incumbent), Matt Sahlstrom (incumbent),  and Roger Wade (incumbent). 

Oak Bay

Coun. Kevin Murdoch defeated incumbent Nils Jensen for the mayor's chair in the District of Oak Bay.

Preliminary results show Murdoch received 5,042 votes compared to Jensen's 2,138.

Both candidates agreed that the leafy, single-family-home-dominated district needs more housing, but they differed on how to get there.

Jensen was pushing a plan to allow legal secondary suites, but the idea has been in community consultation since 2015.

Murdoch favours small-scale density and campaigned on a plan to overhaul zoning and development policies, hoping to make decisions about housing less political.

"I had a lot of people rally around that message," he said following his win.

Oak Bay has six council seats and they were claimed by: Andrew Appleton, Hazel Braithwaite, Cairine Green, Tara Ney, Esther Paterson, and Eric Zhelka.

North Cowichan

Al Sebring defeated incumbent mayor Jon Lefebure in the District of North Cowichan, the largest municipality in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, which includes Chemanius, Crofton and Maple Bay.

Sebring won by the narrowest of margins: 10 votes.

In June, a referendum on amalgamating North Cowichan and Duncan was defeated.

North Cowichan has about 30,000 residents and is 195 square kilometres in size, while Duncan has a population of 5,000 and is two square kilometres in size.

Like many British Columbia municipalities, it is facing a housing crisis but also issues around escalating property taxes and drinking water.

North Cowichan has six council seats and were won by Rob Douglas (incumbent), Kate Marsh (incumbent), Christopher Justice, Rosalie Sawrie, Tek Manhas, and Debra Toporowski.

Courtenay

Bob Wells defeated incumbent mayor Larry Jangula in Courtenay B.C.

Wells got 40 per cent of the vote with 2,950 votes, while Jangula won 2,512 votes.

The city of 25,000, situated on the east coast of central Vancouver Island is known for its beautiful surroundings and year-round recreation but is struggling with high taxes, affordable housing and traffic congestion.

Wells ran his campaign as a centrist and his success as a local businessman. He also successfully countered other campaigns that warned residents about rising taxes.

"People realize that I've been a businessman, an entrepreneur since I was 10 years old but it's not about raising taxes but about getting things done."

He says his first priority is to build a culture of collaboration within council.

Courtenay has six council seats and they were claimed by Will Cole-Hamilton, Melanie McCollum, David Frisch (incumbent), Emmanuel Theos (incumbent), Wendy Morin, and Doug Hillian (incumbent).

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