A byelection for a seat on Vernon council was necessitated by the September death fice of city councillor Dalvir Nahal.
The councillor was in the midst of her second term in office when she lost a 10-year fight with cancer and died Sept. 5.
On Dec. 4, Nahal’s friend, Teresa Durning, topped the 11-person poll to succeed her.
If the byelection votes from Dec. 4 and five advance polls are confirmed official Wednesday, Dec. 8 (numbers were not in at press time), Durning will have defeated former Vernon councillor Catherine Lord by 14 votes.
“A huge motivator in this run was my personal and professional relationship with Dalvir,” said Durning, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on council in the 2018 municipal elections.
“I promised Dalvir I would run if she didn’t win her health battle, I didn’t believe she would lose that battle, and I kept my word to her.
“There was tremendous support from her friends and family to make this seat a reality for me.
“It’s still emotional and I will strive to be all she knew I could be for the citizens of Vernon.”
Excited and honoured for the opportunity to be “the voice for the citizens of Vernon as the newest city councillor,” Durning said the campaign was difficult.
“There were amazing candidates resulting in some tough competition,” she said. “I believed I was in it for the right reasons and aimed for the outcome we saw on Dec. 4.”
Lord, who was looking to return to council after taking a break following the 2018 elections, finished with 429 votes and said she won’t ask for a recount.
“I’ve congratulated Teresa,” said Lord.
“I’m sure she’ll work hard for the whole community. We have such a diversity of citizens, from very poor to very rich. They all deserve representation.”
Voter turnout was dismal, with a total of 1,631 votes cast for the 11 candidates.
Ed Stranks finished third with 244 votes.
Durning will be sworn in at a special meeting of council Tuesday, Dec. 14.
“Vernon has a housing shortage epidemic, a COVID pandemic that has negatively impacted all of Vernon’s sectors, as well we have climate change impacts that are catastrophic to the area,” said Durning.
“There is no shortage of priorities and no shortage of work to do. I look forward to working with the current mayor and council to continue their great work as we wind down this term and prepare for the next one in October 2022.”
Durning, who will remain on as vice-president of the Greater Vernon 2022 B.C. Winter Games committee, said she plans to run to keep her seat in the October 2022 municipal elections.
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