Janice Morrison has defeated incumbent John Dooley to become Nelson’s new mayor.
Morrison had served three terms on city council before campaigning for mayor this fall. On Saturday voters made her the second woman in Nelson’s history to be named mayor.
“I am really looking forward to the next four years and let’s make that change,” said Morrison in a speech to supporters at the Adventure Hotel. “As I said in my campaign, let’s do it together. Let’s do it together.”
Nelson’s new mayor was first elected to council in 1999. Morrison served one term, stepped away from city hall then was elected again in 2014 and 2018.
Morrison said she was overwhelmed when the results were announced, but that it was clear to her voters wanted a different city council.
“I want to change the way we set the agenda for council meetings, that’s going to be very important to me to open them up to be more transparent.
“I still really truly believe that we need to have less in camera time and really try to figure out how we’re going to communicate and engage with with citizens of Nelson going forward.”
Morrison earned 1,562 votes, finishing ahead of Dooley (915) in the municipal election. Dooley had been vying for his fifth term as Nelson’s civic leader.
Dooley said he believes Morrison is a worthy successor. He said he didn’t believe he lost due to protest voting, only that Nelson residents opted for someone who had also done their time at city hall.
“If somebody other than Janice was running, I probably would still be the mayor,” said Dooley. “But they were changing to somebody that had experience who will be able to do the job. So it wasn’t a big shift for some people to go over there.”
John Buffery, who had no political experience when he announced his candidacy for mayor, finished a stunning third with 897 votes just behind Dooley.
Tom Prior (67 votes) and Mike Zeabin (29) rounded out the voting among mayoral candidates.
Morrison’s council is a mix of three incumbents and three newcomers.
Kate Tait, who works for Selkirk College, led all councillors with 2,417 votes to win her first term. She was followed by a trio of incumbents, Jesse Woodward (2,060), Rik Logtenberg (1,813) and Keith Page (1,732).
Two other newcomers will include Nelson Boxing Club owner and former city sports ambassador Jesse Pineiro (1,626) as well as Leslie Payne (1,521), who nearly doubled her votes after an unsuccessful bid for council in 2018.
Other council candidates were Glenn Sutherland (1,370), Ainsleah Hastings (1,138), Brenton Raby (788) and Kyle Wilkinson (656).