The City of Williams Lake returned four incumbent councillors to City Hall Saturday night.
Councillors Laurie Walters, Sue Zacharias, Surinderpal Rathor and Geoff Bourdon will return for another three-year term joined by councillors Ivan Bonnell and Danica Hughes.
Walters received the greatest number of votes at 2,296 followed by Rathor at 2,022, Zacharias with 2,004, Bonnell with 1,742, Bourdon with 1,501 and Hughes with 1,156 who just edged out Mike Jacobson who earned 1,135 votes.
When interviewed on Saturday evening following the win, Hughes said, “First of all I’m really excited for Kerry Cook. I am just so happy that the people of Williams Lake trusted in me to vote for me. … This is my first go at it and I am just so thrilled.”
Also on Saturday following his win, Coun. Geoff Bourdon said, “I am relieved now. It’s a humbling thing to be judged by an entire community and I am honoured to be re-elected.”
The councillors contacted Monday expressed their gratitude to the community for its trust in them and suggested given the collective experience of the new council they were ready to get to work.
Walters said she felt the community had sent a “strong” message regarding the City’s direction. “They want to continue with a more balanced approach to growing the city,” she said, adding she was looking forward to moving ahead with a plan for a dog park, the Station House Gallery, the official community plan and tourism.
Walters added that she got the message that the community also wants council to work on issues of economic development.
“I don’t think that’s something council is going to ignore,” she said.
Rathor, who was returned to his seat for the seventh straight time, expressed his gratitude.
“It’s an honour to be on council for a seventh term,” he said. “The community has spoken loud and clear. I’m going to do the best I can to represent the city of Williams Lake and the taxpayer on council.” Rathor added that while it was nice to receive the second-highest number of votes he was one member of a council team.
“You all have an equal vote; you’re all part of the team and I will always play a team role.”
Zacharias agreed that voters had sent a message regarding the direction they would like to see the city take.
“I think the people of Williams Lake have definitely spoken loud and clear about the direction that they want to go in in the next three years,” she said. “I think it’s a real turning point for Williams Lake in that people are coming together and getting on board with moving forward and energizing the city.”
Zacharias extended an olive branch to defeated candidates, saying she would like to hear from those who had expressed ideas for the City’s economic development throughout the campaign.
“Instead of walking away divided if we can bring in the other candidates, their concerns and their platforms and work on those. So we end up coming together over all this and not being split apart by it.”
Bonnell could not be reached for comment on this story by press time.
Kerry Cook won the mayor’s race with 1, 777 votes to Scott Nelson’s 1,090 and Walt Cobb’s 747.
The referendum on whether to re-commence fluoridating the City’s water supply was turned down. The no side received 2,453 and the yes side, 970. The City reports that voter turnout this time was 50.7 per cent compared to 44.7 per cent in 2008 and 49.6 per cent in 2005.
The election results will be made official Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.