Election night in Sooke had more than its share of drama as one result was initially misreported, one incumbent was unseated, and four new councillors won election to Sooke district council. And, oh yeah, Maja Tait won re-election to the the mayor’s chair.
When the vote count was complete, Coun.,Rick Kasper, one of the three incumbents running for re-election, was unseated and four new faces are set to join the remaining incumbents: Ebony Logins and Brenda Parkinson.
New on council is Megan McMath, Tony St. Pierre, Al Beddows, and Jeff Bateman.
“I’m very excited about finally getting on council,” Bateman said Monday.
“I’ve been building up to this for a while now, and now I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Bateman ran for a council in 2014 and lost by 24 votes.
While he said that he knows several of the councillors well, he acknowledged the first challenge will be to get to know one another better and figure out how to work together for the common goals of council.
At 30, Meagan McMath is the youngest councillor and is looking ahead with excitement. She said the new council is a good reflection of the community and is anxious to get to work.
“I think the council reflects every section of Sooke. There’s a good female/male split and we have people for all kinds of backgrounds,” said McMath.
“What I see is a group of very smart people who all love Sooke and will be able to work together to truly represent the community.”
For Al Beddows, election night was a nail-biter but he is looking forward to the new council coming together as a team.
“We need to get together and set some goals and develop action plans to achieve those goals,” said Beddows.
Naturally, he said, the six councillors have different personalities and sometimes different agendas. But Beddows maintains that there is no one on council with whom he can’t work effectively.
Election night was perhaps the most stressful for Tony St. Pierre.
After initially being told he won a council seat, some media outlets reported incorrectly that he had been defeated.
When St. Pierre checked, he found some figures had been transposed, leaving another candidate as the winner. The error was corrected and St. Pierre was the declared winner.
“The whole process was exhausting … an emotional wringer,” said St. Pierre.
“But now it’s time to get to work and make sure that we get an excellent [chief administrative officer] in place and start to mend relationships with municipal staff.”
He added his first priority will be to push for economic development to create jobs and for affordable housing in Sooke so that people work in the community can live in Sooke as well.
Tait, re-elected to her second term on Saturday, is looking forward to working with the new council and said that she feels the group will bring new ideas and a new enthusiasm to council chambers.
“I’m very excited. We have two returning councillors and the four new ones who really represent all sides of the community,” said Tait.
“We have a great gender split and an age range that truly represents the community. I think this will be a cohesive and progressive group.”