Mayoral challenger Richard Rowberry

Mayoral challenger Richard Rowberry

#7 Off to the (Yawn) Polls

Year in Review: In November, Nelson saw its most lacklustre municipal election campaign in recent memory

In November, Nelson saw its most lacklustre municipal election campaign in recent memory, with incumbent mayor John Dooley enjoying what amounted to a coronation.

He was easily re-elected for a third term over challengers Richard Rowberry — who entered as the reincarnation of founding mayor John Houston, before mounting a more serious campaign — and George Mercredi, who never actually showed up.

The council race wasn’t any more exciting, with only eight people seeking six seats, although there were a few interesting stories among them.

Incumbent councillor Kim Charlesworth, who mulled challenging Dooley for mayor before opting not to seek re-election at all, encouraged some like-minded individuals to fill her shoes. Candace Batycki and Paula Kiss, both with strong environmental backgrounds, were elected, while two-term incumbent Marg Stacey was dislodged.

No single issue dominated the campaign either, although the word sustainability was heard ad nauseum at the public forums.

More interesting, perhaps, were the Regional District of Central Kootenay races, where voters opted to stick with what they knew, returning every incumbent despite some high-profile challengers.

Turnouts varied from a distressing low of 22 per cent in Area F (Rural Nelson) to a refreshing high of 63 per cent in Area D (Rural Kaslo).

Even without much fireworks, this tri-annual exercise in democracy still ranks among the year’s key events.