After more than a decade at the council table, Marianne Alto will be the next mayor of B.C.’s capital city.
“I can’t say enough what a privilege it is to be in this position and one I will never take lightly, there’s so much to do in the next four years and I’m really looking forward to getting started,” Alto said after the win.
Voters stuck it out in hour-long waits at polling stations around the city throughout Saturday, but turnout dropped compared to four years ago. Still, Alto came away with a resounding win, securing 55 per cent of all the ballots cast.
“It’s such a chance to really implement a vision of an evolving city,” she told Black Press Media. “What I read in these results is that the majority of the people of Victoria saw room for new ideas but also really appreciated having someone with experience in the chair to help mentor those ideas.”
She credited the win in part to both her and the city’s commitment to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The mayor-elect said voters saw in her someone who can unite diverse viewpoints at a time when people are tired of toxic civil discourse.
When asked about her first priority, Alto said housing, housing and, once again, housing. Her campaign promised to create more affordable housing and to get more diverse housing types built to suit people of all backgrounds. Alto said a spectrum of housing in every neighbourhood is needed and will be advanced by the city’s missing middle housing proposal and supply-boosting changes coming from the province.
Asked how she wants people to view Victoria, Alto said “I want them to think of an incredibly welcoming and diverse city that’s exciting but also reliable and a place that not only do you want to live in and be part of (the city’s) future, but that you can.”
The winning campaign sought to paint Alto as a mayor that wouldn’t waiver in hard times and one that could make tough choices. With a completely new set of councillors, Alto said it’s clear Victoria was ready for some new blood, while also having someone at the helm who knows where the light switches are at city hall.
With 37 council candidates, the capital had Greater Victoria’s most crowded field seeking a seat at city hall. Joining Alto on council will be Jeremy Caradonna, Susan Kim, Matt Dell, Krista Loughton, Dave Thompson, former councillor Christopher Coleman, Stephen Hammond and Marg Gardiner.
That cements what will likely be a progressive majority at the council table for the next four years.
Voters on election day told Black Press Media they want the next council to take action on housing especially, but ending homelessness, tackling climate change and electing councillors that will work together were also high on voters’ priority lists.
Victoria voters also chose Caradonna, Thompson and Coleman to represent the community as Capital Regional District directors.
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