Doug Kobayashi will become Colwood’s next mayor with a victory over incumbent Rob Martin.
Kobayashi, who served as a councillor for the past four years, won with more than 67 per cent of the vote (2,559), compared to Martin’s 32 per cent (1,216).
He will be joined by newly elected councillors David Grove, Ian Ward, Misty Olsen, Kim Jordison, and re-elected councillors Cynthia Day and Dean Jantzen.
Ward claimed the most votes with 2,476, followed by Grove with 2,243, Day with 2,109, Jantzen with 2,081, Olsen with 2,038, and Jordison with 1,826.
Steven MacAskill just missed the mark with 1,804 votes, followed by Stewart Parkinson with 1,693, Kim Mohns with 914 and Sacha Veelbehr with 423.
Voter turnout dipped slightly from the previous election in Colwood, with 26 per cent (3,798 out of an estimated 14,891) of eligible voters casting ballots this year compared to 31 per cent (4,089 out of an estimated 12,968) in 2018.
Speaking among his jubilant supporters and campaign staff at 328 Taphouse and Grill, Kobayashi said the results were a shock, but he was already planning his initial priorities as mayor.
“I’m actually overwhelmed by the results,” said Kobayashi. “We kept on saying, ‘it’s going to be close, it’s going to be close,’ because you get into an echo chamber where everyone around you is always telling you ‘you got this.’ I had to look at the results twice.”
While he is certainly elated by the results, Kobayashi said the election is not about him, but the fact that it is clear to him the voters of Colwood have spoken, and they wanted change.
“There was a clear message, and now I have to deliver on that.”
He said the highest priority for him as mayor will be to simply listen to the people of Colwood.
“You can’t communicate with people by ignoring them. So one of the big things I want to do, and I have said this from day one, is to bring back the standing citizen committees again, and the select committees, so that’s exactly what I am going to do.”
He said he also plans on using his experience running businesses both small and large to help the city navigate through challenging economic times, focusing on city revenues and managing spending to avoid tax increases.
He said he also will look into options for repealing a controversial council pay increase which was narrowly approved by the previous council earlier this year, and plans on reviewing the city’s core services.
With plenty of fresh faces set to sit around the council, along with two returning councillors, Kobayashi said he is looking forward to working with them all.
“It’s a very diverse group of people, but I can get along with everyone to tell you the truth. I absolutely respect people’s different inputs, and I will be listening very carefully. I’m very excited overall.”
Black Press Media reached out to Rob Martin for comment, but he could not be reached before publication.