Challenger Harry Gough and incumbent Cindy Fortin were tied in votes following a recount of the Oct 20 Peachland mayoral election result. So a B.C. judge had to draw the name of the winner and she drew Fortin’s name. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Incumbent’s name drawn to settle who will be Peachland’s next mayor

B.C. judge draws incumbent Cindy Fortin’s name to settle tied mayoral vote

In the end it came down to the luck of the draw.

Incumbent Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin will serve a second term after her name was drawn from a box that contained two pieces of identical paper, folded the exact same way, one with her name on it and the other bearing the name of her challenger, Harry Gough.

Fortin and Gough each received 804 votes in the Oct. 20 mayoral election and when two recounts—one by Peachland election staff and the other overseen by B.C. Provincial Court Judge Ellen Burdett—could not break the impasse, Burdett had to draw a name out of the box to pick a winner.

While some would have preferred a run-off election, Peachland’s election bylaw calls for the drawing of names in the event of a tie.

“That is something that I want Peachland to look at (and consider changing for future elections),” said a relieved Fortin moments after her name was pulled from the green wooden box.

Fortin, first elected mayor in 2014 after serving one term as a district councillor, said she was not nervous during the two recounts, but was in the moments just before the draw.

“Wow,” she said after her name was pulled out by Burdett.

Asked how she felt, Fortin replied: “you’ll have to ask me in a few moments when my heart stops fluttering.”

Fortin thanked all the people who had helped get the election finally settled, and singled out Gough for praise, saying he was “very gracious” throughout the process.

She said she wants to get back to work as quickly as possible and wants to work on mending the differences that sprang up in the community, even before the election campaign.

One of the most contentious issues was council’s controversial approval earlier this year of a five-storey waterfront development, slated for Beach Avenue near the community’s downtown. It will be the district’s tallest building and some feel it’s too tall for the location. Opponents accused council of changing the official community plan after the fact to allow the development.

Despite that, it was a conciliatory Fortin who accepted her second term as mayor following Monday’s recount and name draw.

“I’m really relived and I can’t wait to get back to work,” said Fortin.

She said to help heal the divisions in the community, the district had already started to work on better lines of communication and plans to hold more round-tables and have the community more involved in future decisions.

“You’re not going to make everybody happy all the time,” she said. It’s just not possible. But what (council has) to do is work hard, and better, for the public, and to better our communication.”

The drawing of her name followed a nearly five-hour recount of all votes cast for the five mayoral candidates who ran in the Oct. 20 civic election in Peachland. It was overseen by Burdett who approved the application for the judicially-supervised recount on Friday afternoon.

Only one ballot was challenged during the process and it was allowed by Burdett, who said she felt it was clear who the voter was trying to cast a ballot for. It was not for either Fortin or Gough, so it did not affect the outcome of the recount.

On election night, Gough appeared to have won the mayor’s job by just one vote over Fortin but that lead was erased during a recount conducted by district election staff last week. That recount left Fortin and Gough tied with 804 votes each. Those numbers stood up in the judicial recount Monday, with the three other candidates in the mayor’s race, Keith Thom, Eric Hall and Bob Henderson all far back.

Thom, Hall and Henderson were allowed to attend Monday’s judicial recount along with Fortin, Gough and their representatives but did not.

Only the candidates, their representatives, five election officials—including chief election officer Polly Palmer—Burdett, three B.C. sheriffs and members of the media were allowed to be in Peachland council chambers on Monday as the recount took place.

On Oct. 26, Burdett noted that during an actual election vote counting process, only candidates’ scrutineers and election officials are allowed to be present.

Details of the recount on Oct. 29 were not allowed to be reported under an order from Burdett. She said she did that to protect the integrity of the vote.

Gough, who also attended the judicial recount, said while he was disappointed his name was not drawn he did not plan to protest the election to the B.C. Supreme Court. Earlier he indicated he may challenge the vote because of concerns about how the election was handled.

He said ballot boxes were opened before he could be present to watch the vote count start on election night.

He said he knew that if there was to be a draw following the recount he would have a 50-50 chance of winning.

“Unfortunately my name was not drawn. But Cindy will be a good mayor,” he said.

Gough wished Fortin well and said he has no plans to run again for mayor in four years.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bears spotted near Saanich lake spooked by police, wandered off

Bear, cub not seen over weekend but police ask residents to be on alert

Homeless shelter at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre creates 40 jobs

The arena can house 45 people in pop-up pods

Bike lane closed, traffic impacted by landscaping in Metchosin

Construction begins May 25, to be complete by mid-July

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read