NDP MLA Leonard Krog has been elected as the new mayor of Nanaimo, which will trigger a byelection for the B.C. Legislature.
If the next person elected is not from the NDP it would weaken their narrow hold of the Legislature but not immediately topple their position as government. It could result in an early general election.
With Krog, they have 41 seats and have the BC Green’s three-seat support. The Liberals have 42 seats, the speaker is the only independent in the house who had his liberal membership revoked.
Although Nanaimo has voted NDP in 13 of the last 15 provincial elections. The speaker is the one who would break any tie votes.
Krog won with a total of 20,040 votes, 13,238 more than runner-up Don Hubbard.
Council saw only two incumbents make it on the new council, Sheryl Dawn Armstrong and Ian Thorpe. The other six are new faces.
This after four years of what many said was a dysfunctional city government. Lawsuits involving city staff, accusations of threats by councilors, accusations of bullying by the mayor, RCMP investigations and more than three dozen city staff leaving their jobs left many in Nanaimo feeling frustrated and concerned.
Krog had been mulling over the idea of running to become Nanaimo’s mayor for several years prior to the election but the dysfunction is what pushed him to run.
“This is a substantial victory, this is a great night for Nanaimo… what Nanaimo said tonight was were going to fix the last four years and we want it done quickly… there is a lot to be done,” Krog told CHEK News at his campaign party Saturday night.
“Over the new few days, I will figure out the appropriate day to resign my seat as I committed to do, I’m on unpaid leave from the Legislature, and I am confident given the margin of Victory the NDP enjoyed in the last provincial election they will win this seat again and I would be surprised if they didn’t,” said Krog.
Re-elected councilor Sheryl Armstrong says she is ecstatic over the new members in council.
“I am extremely excited by this council, I know most of these people well and we are all very collaborative, we can agree to disagree respectfully and we learn for each other… this is a great day for Nanaimo,” said Armstrong.
“I was very nervous coming into this, there were a lot of people saying to get rid of all council and I was hopeful I wasn’t included in that, and obviously people didn’t so i’m very thankful I want to thank the voters for that.”
Elsewhere, in Port Alberni Sharie Minions has will be the new mayor, replacing Mike Ruttan who came in third behind Minions and Denis Sauve. Minions is the second female mayor in Port Alberni history.
“My campaign was very much run on positivity and opportunities for Port Alberni,” said Minions. “And I think the fact that I got elected really sends a strong message about the direction our community wants to go.”
At 30 years old she is also believed to be the youngest mayor ever elected on the island.
“Very exciting, I’m thrilled with the results,” Minions added. “Port Alberni is a very traditional town and I think it’s no secret we have a bit of a negative stigma with other communities on the island and just in general so I think this is a very positive step forward for us.”
In Courtenay popular councillor Bob Wells is the mayor-elect after beating out two time mayor Larry Jangula by 438 votes
“You know I wasn’t going for left or right,” said Wells. “You know I was really just saying we need to build a culture of collaboration and cooperation at city hall so that we can start to get things done and not be so combative.”
With files from the CBC
Full results here: