Victoria voters line up at George Jay elementary

Voters at George Jay Elementary where the line is down the block as of 3 p.m. and has been all day. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Voters at George Jay Elementary where the line is down the block as of 3 p.m. and has been all day. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Voters at George Jay Elementary where the line is down the block as of 3 p.m. and has been all day. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Voters at George Jay Elementary where the line is down the block as of 3 p.m. and has been all day. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Voters at George Jay Elementary where the line is down the block as of 3 p.m. and has been all day. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Voters at George Jay Elementary where the line is down the block as of 3 p.m. and has been all day. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

It’s election day in Victoria with polls open until 8 p.m.

At George Jay Elementary, the line to vote stretched halfway down the block Saturday afternoon and had been like that for most of the day.

“I think it’s been really good just seeing everybody caring about voting,” said Nicolia Oak, the polling station’s electoral officer.

Kristen Bounds, 29, was one of the many who waited in line for about an hour to vote at George Jay. The climate crisis and housing were the top issues for her. The communications specialist for a local clothing brand wants to see more middle-sized housing options built.

“It’s been mostly building more highrises that are probably unaffordable for most people,” she said.

The long wait was worth it to have the views of younger people represented by the next council, Bounds said.

Sara Stallard is a little worried about the missing middle housing initiative and while she likes it in theory, she doesn’t think it does enough to address affordability. The environmental scientist, who was upset with the school board’s decision to sell land adjacent to Bowker Creek, wants the next council to continue the direction of the previous one. She said the city was making the right moves on housing, homelessness and making streets more livable with protected bike lanes and reduced speed limits.

“It really made a huge difference in safety and feeling like my teenager was safer,” Stallard said of the Pandora Avenue bike infrastructure.

“Making it so it’s a more viable option for people with families with children and elderly people. Keeping mobile, I think that’s a really big part of what’s important for our health.”

Fred Heard hopes a new mayor and council will take a different approach to homelessness than the outgoing council.

“They’re not solving the problem about homelessness, it just seems to just get worse and worse,” said the local retiree outside a Cook Street Village polling station.

“Ordinary retired people couldn’t go through (Beacon Hill Park), it wasn’t safe. You’d get verbally assaulted.”

Another retiree, Malcolm MacPhail focused on housing and the environment as he cast his ballot.

“The poor people who had to camp out, to finally enable them to get some decent housing and to get that issue resolved,” he said of his hopes for the next term. “It’s a community issue, if one suffers we all suffer.”

For Jonathan Marc Huot, more so than any one issue, city representatives need to be able to work collaboratively and be able to find balance.

“There are no easy answers for what we’re facing,” he said.

As election day wound down and the sun started to fall over James Bay, Huot said he hopes those around the council table after Saturday won’t be divisive and antagonistic. Asked if he thinks the next council will achieve that collaboration, Huot paused for a few seconds.

“It’s the balance between optimism and realism and all you can do is show up, take a step forward and really hope for the best.”

Candidates:

In the City of Victoria, eight candidates are in the mayoral race with 37 people running for eight councillor positions.

Mayoral candidates include Marianne Alto, Stephen Andrew, Lyall Atkinson, Rafael Fuentes, Rod Graham, David Johnston, Brendan Marshall and Michelle Wiboltt.

Councillor candidates include Julia Alvarez, Gary Beyer, Tom Braybrook, Michael Cameron, Jeremy Caradonna, Christopher Mark Coleman, Matt Dell, Rob Duncan, Jalal Elarid, Marg Gardiner, Riga Godron, Stephen Hammond, Christopher Hanna, James Harasymow, Ben Isitt, Sandy Janzen, Jason Jones, Muller Kalala, Susan Kim, Anna King, Brian Klassen, Krista Loughton, Jeremy Maddock, Janice Nightingale, Steve Orcherton, Emmanuel Parenteau, Derek Pinto, Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Jordan Quitzau, William Scott, Brad Sifert, Susan Simmons, Tom Sinclair, Shea Smith, Dave Thompson, Janice Williams and Tony Yacowar.

READ MORE: Meet Your Candidates: 37 battle for 9 councillor positions in Victoria

In the Greater Victoria School District (SD61), there are 30 candidates vying for nine school trustee positions. This district covers a portion of View Royal, Esquimalt, Victoria, Oak Bay and a section of Saanich.

Candidates include Salvetina Agba, Natalie Baillaut, Cindy Bedi Ralph, Esther Callo, Angela Carmichael, Sacha Christensen, Matthew Cook, Mavis David, Nicole Duncan, Jennifer Foster, Derek Gagnon, Daphna Gelbart, Leslie-Anne Goodall, Karin Kwan, J. Charles Lamb, Piers MacDonald, Emily Mahbobi, Diane McNally, Kyle McStravick, Janice Novotill, Rob Paynter, Roberta Solvey, Tyson Strandlund, Jordan Watters, Ann Whiteaker, Michelle Wiboltt, Oliver Wu, Ali Zahra, Sasha Zhang and Judith Zulu.

READ MORE: It’s Election Day in Greater Victoria: Here’s what you need to know about school trustees How to vote:

Victoria residents can vote at Central Baptist Church (833 Pandora Ave.), Central Middle School (1280 Fort St.), Cook Street Village Activity Centre (380 Cook St.), George Jay Elementary School (1118 Princess Ave.), Glenlyon Norfolk School (781 Richmond Ave.), James Bay Community School (140 Oswego St.), James Bay New Horizons Centre (234 Menzies St.), Margaret Jenkins Elementary School (1824 Fairfield Rd.), Oaklands Elementary School (2827 Belmont Ave.), Quadra Elementary School (3031 Quadra St.), Sir James Douglas Elementary School (401 Moss St.), SJ Burnside Education Centre (498 Cecelia Rd.), and Victoria West Elementary School (750 Front St.).

To learn more about how to vote, click here.

READ MORE: 2022 Election Coverage

What happens once polls close?

Polls are open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Once they close, the results will be tallied and released. Check out our website and Facebook page for full coverage of the results once polls close.

Copy: MUNICIPAL ELECTION 2018 RESULTS
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