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Bryson gets the nod as new Central Saanich mayor

Central Saanich Mayor Jack Mar, left, congratulates mayor-elect, Councillor Alastair Bryson, at the Prairie Inn, after Bryson beat out challenger Chris Graham in Saturday
Central Saanich Mayor Jack Mar, left, congratulates mayor-elect, Councillor Alastair Bryson, at the Prairie Inn, after Bryson beat out challenger Chris Graham in Saturday's civic election. Mar is retiring after two terms as mayor and previous time as a councillor.
— image credit: Don Descoteau/News staff

Before he sat down with friends and family to celebrate victory in the Central Saanich mayoral race Saturday, Alastair Bryson had some unfinished business to take care of.

"I managed to get my signs all gathered up already, so I don't have to get up early tomorrow morning," he said with a grin.

Celebrating for the mayor-elect involved sitting around a table in the Prairie Inn with "friends and folks that I really respect," including retiring Mayor Jack Mar.

Unofficial polling results saw two-term district councillor Bryson pick up 2,753 votes, outdistancing fellow candidate and former four-term councillor Christopher Graham by more than 900 votes. It was the second straight loss in the mayoral race for Graham.

Bryson said he never took anything for granted in the race and was simply "prepared to hear what the community had to decide."

He'll have some familiar faces to work with on council after the official swearing-in ceremony takes place Dec. 5.

Incumbents Adam Olsen, Terry Siklenka and John Garrison were returned, while former councillor Zeb King was re-elected.

Council newcomer, accountant Cathie Ounsted, clearly impressed residents with her campaign, as she was rewarded with the top polling numbers (2,915 votes) of anyone running.

She'll be joined at the table by fellow newcomer Carl Jensen, who polled third highest among the council candidates with 2,250 votes.

"I'm very pleased with the council the public has chosen to appoint," Bryson said. "I think we've got an excellent team of folks — people who have a lot of good qualities to bring to the council table."

While no major development projects lie waiting in the wings, the new council will have as one of its first priorities issuing final approval to the new fire hall building.

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