It wasn’t a particular issue, but city council’s response to the issues that influenced Salmon Arm voters at the ballot box.
This was one of Mayor Alan Harrison’s takeaways from the results of the Oct. 15 municipal election that saw all incumbent candidates voted back into office.
“I think the people in Salmon Arm, they didn’t really select candidates based on an issue or an item or a promise,” said Harrison in his election speech, delivered to supporters gathered after polls closed on Oct. 15 at the Salmon Arm Curling Centre. “When we started the last election, the biggest issue that ever came to our city, we didn’t know it was coming. So it’s not the issue, it’s how you handle what comes your way. And I think this council handled it objectively, we handled it with a measured way, in a calm way, and we did what we thought was right. We didn’t always get it right, we made mistakes, but for the most part I think we did OK. So thank you for that.”
In the three-way race for mayor, preliminary numbers showed Harrison securing a second term as mayor by a landslide, defeating newcomer Luke Norrie and former mayor Nancy Cooper. Harrison tallied 3,213 votes or 69.1 per cent of votes cast, versus 747 votes (16.1 per cent) for Norrie and 675 votes (14.5 per cent) for Cooper.
In 2018, Harrison won with 59.32 per cent of the vote, defeating Nancy Cooper with 26.55 per cent and Jim Kimmerly with 13.27 per cent.
Of the 11 people competing for one of the six councillor positions, incumbents Debbie Cannon, Kevin Flynn, Tim Lavery, Sylvia Lindgren and Louise Wallace Richmond were re-elected, with newcomer David Gonella joining council.
Lavery topped the polls again with 3,285 votes or 70.6 per cent of votes cast, followed by Flynn with 3,112 votes, Cannon with 3,010, Lindgren with 2,966 and Wallace Richmond with 2,900. A total of 2,295 ballots were cast for Gonella.
Newcomer Kristine Wickner topped the candidates not elected, nearly doubling the next contender. Wickner polled 1,874, followed by Daniel Bardy with 989, Brian Fletcher with 978, Deb Haukedal with 899 and Robert Johnson with 744.
Harrison said there was an intensity this campaign not present in past elections, noting there were “some onions lobbed,” especially towards incumbent candidates.
“And when an onion is hurled your way, you can do two different things,” said Harrison. “One, you can pick it up and you can throw it back… Or, you can peel the onion back, you can use facts, you can use objectivity, you can use reason, and then you keep moving forward. And I think each one of us that was running did that.
“We were tempted to pick that onion back and just hurl it, but we did not and that was the right thing to do. One of my favourite quotes is from Michelle Obama and she says, ‘when they go low, we go high,’ and that’s what we did.”
Cannon, Flynn and Wallace Richmond also commented on the different vibe in this election.
“I had the nervous butterflies for sure going into this election because it was so much about the pandemic and how others that were running, what their decision was for running,” said Cannon. “And it made it… a real different election for sure.”
Wallace Richmond viewed the election results as a win for love and community.
“I am so grateful and I am going to work harder than I ever have before, because I will not, under any circumstance, accept a community where pride is not accepted, where we don’t have the compassion and the love of our community,” said Wallace Richmond. “So love won tonight. And that’s not down to me – I only have one vote. Our community said loud and clear, love wins, health wins, community wins.”
Flynn agreed love shined through in the results, as did a respect for science.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen this election,” said Flynn. “Having a son who is alive because of science, I’m going to say it, I believe in science and I’m so glad science won out.
“I’ve never felt worse through an election campaign than this one. Single issue is not what our community needs and I am so so so proud of this community.”
All of the incumbents at the gathering expressed their gratitude to the community and everyone who supported them during their campaigns.
“I’m so proud to be back on council, can’t wait to get back to work,” said Lindgren. “I’m so glad this election is over and I just want to get back to doing what we do and that is making Salmon Arm a better place to live.”
The new council will be sworn in at a special council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 at city hall.
School District 83
In the North Okanagan Shuswap School District 83, Electoral Area 4 (Salmon Arm), preliminary results showed incumbents Amanda Krebs and Marianne VanBuskirk were elected, defeating candidate Gina Johnny.
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