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Sooke School District sees several new faces, Parmar re-elected

Voter turnout up in SD62 compared with 2018
Ravi Parmar, last term’s SD62 board chair, was re-elected to the school board. (Black Press Media file photo)

There was no doubt that Saturday’s municipal election results would result in a change of guardians for the Sooke School District before the first vote was cast.

With Bob Phillips and Margot Swinburnson retiring from the Milne’s Landing Zone, and Bob Beckett, Dianna Seaton and Wendy Hobbs stepping away from the Belmont Zone, the stage was set for five new faces on the board of trustees.

From the Milne’s Landing Zone, incumbent Allison Watson (2,274) won re-election. She will be joined by Amanda Dowhy (2,190) and former District of Sooke councillor Ebony Logins (2,105).

“I’m really thrilled with the results considering we had a new board facing us,” Watson said. “I’ve worked with Amanda and Ebony before. They are extremely competent, and I’m extremely confident in their abilities. They both have experience with the board, and either one could chair a committee.”

Watson said she’s looking forward to the challenges ahead and anxious to follow through on some of the initiatives the board has been working on, such as environmental sustainability and inclusion.

Dowhy described the win as a “little surreal.”

The support from the community was absolutely wonderful,” she said. “I’ve already received a lot of comments from people who said they think this board really reflects the values of this community and our schools. A very clear message was sent by the voters, and that’s reassuring.”

Ravi Parmar, who served as board chair during the previous term, led the way for Belmont Zone candidates with 8,729 votes or 23.5 per cent.

“I’m very thankful to the voters for electing me as a trustee again,” Parmar said. “I want to thank and congratulate all of the successful candidates, and thank those who put their names forward and worked hard but weren’t successful as well.

“It’s a new board with lots of new faces and lots of diverse and lived experiences that will form an incredible board for the community.”

Joining Parmar from the Belmont Zone is Indigenous author Trudy Spiller (6,247), Scia’new First Nation Chief Russ Chipps (6,112 votes) and former Sooke School District parent advisory committee president Cendra Beaton (4,830 votes).

Voters cast 46,536 ballots, up from 41,842 in 2018.

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