Sooke News Mirror
The votes came in pretty quickly for the mayoral and council candidates in Sooke on Saturday night.
The cheers could be heard from the dining room at the Sooke Legion when the first results came in from the polling station shortly after the polls closed. Maja Tait handily won the seat from her former councillor colleague Herb Haldane.
The race was deemed to be a tight one and nerves were evident throughout the campaign, but the numbers told another story.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” said Tait.
Tait won 66 per cent of the votes, with Haldane running at 33 per cent. Distant in the pack was David Shebib with one per cent of the votes.
Tait was acclaimed mayor with 2,527 votes to Haldane’s 1,263. Shebib got 26 votes.
Tait said winning wasn’t about one person, it was about so many coming together.
Joining Tait at the council table will be incumbents Bev Berger, Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson and Kerrie Reay. Ebony Logins will serve her first term as councillor and Brenda Parkinson will serve her second. Parkinson served on Sooke council from 2008-2011.
Voter turnout stood at 41.5 per cent, slightly lower than the 2011 turnout at 41.9 per cent.
When asked how she felt on Sunday morning, Tait said, “I’m pretty excited, it’s just sinking in.”
She said that with the incumbents elected there is support for the strategic plan and they will be looking at this. She said there was a lot done and now the question was how to start building on it.
When talking about the questions on the ballot in regard to a community facility and opposition to increased tanker traffic, Tait said there was solid support on a community facility as well as a new priority – the environment.
She said the message here was to give more consideration to our environment.
“We live in a beautiful place and what the question reminded us of through discussion is how tourism is a good employer. We are well situated for that,” said Tait.
She wants to be able to connect with the people of Sooke and to put some importance on that.
Team building is a big exercise, said Tait.
“We will pick up the reins and off we go – then set priorities. Now is the time to mend fences and build bridges. Council represents the entire community. It’s over and here we are,” she said.
Tait said that Wendal Milne’s endorsement helped as he was well-respected in the community. She said they originally came together on opposite sides and gradually as they grew up a little they met here.
“We formed a good relationship – that’s what good leadership is about. I want to be true to that.”
When asked why she ran she said it was because Wendal Milne wasn’t running again and she would have supported him.
“I served two terms and it was time to step forward.”
She said her job allows her to be flexible and the mayor needs to be out in the community.
Herb Haldane said after the election, “I would like to thank those that helped me and supported me in this election. I will continue my close friendship with Maja Tait and hope she can find the time to do the job. She is very capable but I do think that more time will be required to govern efficiently.
I will be focusing on other community activities and little government at this time. I am confident that my services and knowledge will be missing at the table as I was very engaged and dedicated to a quality job as a councillor. I will maintain my sense of duty and dedication to this great community as did many before me. Thank you.”