As the dust settles on another municipal election here in Williams Lake, it seems voters didn’t quite embrace the old adage ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ however, there were some notable changes.
At the top of that list of course is the changing of the guard at city hall.
Former mayor Walt Cobb unseated two-time current mayor Kerry Cook, who was seeking a third term.
The air was thick with tension in the Marie Sharpe gymnasium Saturday night when at about 8:25 p.m. Chief Election Officer Cindy Bouchard started posting the election results on a lined poster paper taped to the gym wall.
The first indication Cook was in trouble was when Bouchard posted the preliminary advanced polls; with John Bjornstrom at 32, Cobb at 468, Cook at 277 and Rathor at 407.
Scrutineers and city staff had to wait a few more minutes (a lifetime in politics) before the numbers revealed the general voting would mirror the advanced polls and give Walt the win he was looking for.
My what a difference time makes.
In the 2011 mayoral race, Cook defeated her challengers Scott Nelson and Walt Cobb by a good number of votes (Cook 1,777, Nelson 1,090 and Cobb 747).
While many would agree there has been a fair share of controversy coming out of city hall during the last term, Cook should be recognized for her community service and for her positive efforts as mayor. Thank you, Kerry. The community will also surely miss Surinderpal Rathor at city hall, who gave up his seat on council for the past 21 years to make a run for mayor. Thank you, Surinder.
Turning to the councillors, it wasn’t a surprise that Scott Nelson garnered the most votes, coming in at 1,946. After Scott, former Chamber president Jason Ryll came in a close second followed by businessman Craig Smith.
Judging by the voting, residents are sending a clear signal they want a more business-friendly city hall.
It was interesting to see all three incumbents Sue Zacharias, Ivan Bonnell and Laurie Walters were re-elected, however, they did come in fourth, fifth and sixth place. You can bet residents will be watching closely to see how well they work with the newcomers this term.
In CRD politics, voters chose political blogger Steve Forseth as their Area D director, realtor and rancher Betty Anderson took Area K while Bryon Kemp kept his seat in Area E. Second-term School District 27 trustee Sheila Boehm kept her seat on the board while newcomer Christine Dyment also won a seat.
Last but not least, city and rural residents voted yes to proposed pool upgrades. Though the proposal has had its share of opposition, it’s good the see residents understand the value in having modern amenities available in our community.
Thanks to all the candidates who were brave enough to put their names forward to serve the community.
– Williams Lake Tribune