Central Saanich has two new councillors.
Alicia Cormier and Ryan Windsor were elected Saturday night, to the two vacant seats at the District of Central Saanich council table.
Cormier led the balloting with 872 votes over the two advance polls and the final election day on Saturday. Windsor was next with 859 votes.
The pair, who have not served on Central Saanich council before, fill the seats vacated by Adam Olsen (left to run for the provincial Green Party this year) and Terry Siklenkia, who resigned after moving away from the district.
The next-highest vote tally went to Bob Thompson (827). Thompson, as well as candidates Susan Mason and Christopher Graham, had served on council in the past.
In an interview Sunday, Windsor said he watched the votes come in with 25 to 30 supporters and thought at times that Thompson would catch up for the final council seat. Windsor would end up taking it by only 32 votes.
“He is a strong candidate,” Windsor said of Thompson, “so I had to keep on working.”
He said he and his volunteers were able to get out on Saturday and encourage people to vote, adding he was able to answer many people’s questions as well.
“I’m ecstatic. All of our hard work has paid off.”
Cormier says she couldn’t believe she won, especially after she and her daughter had copied down the wrong vote tally Saturday night. She said she gave another candidate 100 more votes than they actually had and it was Windsor who pointed out the error. With the correction, Cormier found herself in the lead.
“I’m thrilled by such a great community,” she said, noting she was able to get to know a lot of people during the campaign, including some who are on fixed incomes and facing serious issues of a lack of affordable housing.
“For many people, every penny counts,” she said. “We are a very fortunate community, on the whole, but this campaign brought it home to me how some people need more help.”
Cormier said she is passionate about local agriculture, the economy and the district’s sustainability plan. She said she is looking forward to getting to know council procedures, diving in and getting up o speed on local issues.
Windsor, who ran in the last municipal election and did not win a seat at council, said he learned to put in the time and commitment that he said translated into this win.
“You have to go to the meetings, make the commitment to learn the issues and becoming knowledgeable of council’s decision-making.”
Windsor said he’s looking forward to learning more from the current councillors — as well as his by-election opponents — and continuing to listen to the electorate and getting to know the issues they are passionate about. His first order of business will be to get is feet wet at the council table with the ongoing issues of the day, and then delve into the matter of the municipal hall replacement project.
“I am looking forward to a more open discussion,” he said.
Voters cast 2,949 votes in the by-election — or slightly more than 20 per cent of the Central Saanich electorate.
The two new councillors are expected to be sworn into office at the district’s first council meeting in May.