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Bob Wells retains Courtenay mayoral seat

Incumbent Doug Hillian tops the polls among councillors
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells receives a kiss from his wife Michelle after hearing the election results, Saturday at the Filberg Centre. Wells has been elected to his second term as mayor. Scott Stanfield photo

Bob Wells has retained his mayoral seat in Courtenay.

In unofficial results following Saturday’s election, he garnered 3,277 votes to earn his second term as the city’s mayor. Erik Eriksson was second in the mayoral race with 1,802 votes and Aaron Dowker was third with 751 votes.

“Our council’s done a great job,” Wells said following the announcement at the Filberg Centre. “We’ve been able to accomplish a whole lot, even in the face of COVID. I think it was having a lot of people at the table that come from diverse backgrounds, but want to work together. That’s all I was looking for, and I think the electorate really gave that to the city.”

Over the last term, he commends council for keeping taxes among the lowest in B.C. while completing major infrastructure projects such as the 5th Street Bridge rehabilitation, and the Hudson and Greenwood sewer trunks. Working with staff has been critical to secure senior government grants to help fund projects, and to lessen the impact on taxpayers.

Looking ahead, Wells said affordable housing and all the issues that are causing people to be on the street — mental health, addictions, trauma — are top priorities for council over the next term.

“We really need to address that. I think we’ve done a good job, obviously, we want to keep doing that. Beyond that, making sure the decisions we make are the best decisions for the future, not just for us but for our children. Beyond that, I think there’s a lot of opportunity around economic development.

“I look forward to the next four years,” Wells added. “I think we’re going to get a lot done. It’s always a challenge.”

The rest of city council looks the same, except for one new face. Doug Hillian led the charge with 3,067 votes, just one more than Will Cole-Hamilton. Evan Jolicoeur — the new member — finished third in voting with 3,049. Melanie McCollum had 2,920 votes, Wendy Morin 2,868 and David Frisch 2,448.

“What it says to me is the people of this community are in fact concerned about issues such as climate change, about reconciliation, about densifying rather than sprawl development,” Hillian said. “I think it’s an endorsement that we’re on the right track. We’re not perfect, we know there are issues that we have to deal with, but I think it’s pretty clear that people in Courtenay are supportive of the work that this council has done. They’ve returned everybody except one person, who basically ran against the rest of us.”

Longtime councillor Manno Theos was ninth in the vote with 2,118.

Hillian acknowledged the efforts of all who ran in the election, and acknowledged Theos for his years of service.

Shannon Aldinger and incumbent Janice Caton were elected school trustees.

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