New city councillor Paula Kiss and Cheryl Elliott (wife of former Nelson mayor Dave Elliott).

UPDATED: New faces will take city council seats

There was excitement and surprise in Nelson supporters gathered to show support for local candidates as they received the results.

Voters surprised two Nelson city council hopefuls on Saturday night as they elected both Paula Kiss and Candace Batycki to the table.

“Wow,” said Kiss after seeing the results.

Kiss came in second after veteran city councillor Donna Macdonald.

Macdonald, Kiss, Batycki and Deb Kozak all gathered at Oxygen Art Centre to celebrate as they heard the news.

“I worked pretty hard on this campaign, but I was not expecting to come right there near the top,” said Kiss.

She isn’t sure why Nelson residents came out so strongly in favour of her.

“Maybe it was the message. It could also be that I was a new face,” said Kiss.

“There may be some voters out there that are just frustrated and want to see someone new in there. Maybe it’s because I’m younger and I’m appealing to those voters or maybe it’s because I have a business and I’m appealing to those voters.

“I think there’s a lot of factors and I’m sure a statistics analysis person could tell me exactly who voted for me and why, but right now it’s a bit of a mystery.”

Kiss and Batycki will be the two new faces at the council table, joining Bob Adams, Macdonald, Robin Cherbo and Deb Kozak.

“I feel fantastic about the addition of some progressive councillors because I’m going to have a lot more fun and make a lot more progress at this job now that I know there are other people with like interests and goals as me,” said Kiss.

“I’m much more excited about getting the job, given who I’m going to be working with.”

“I’m a little bit in shock,” said Batycki. “It’s a combination of shock and elation, I guess I would say, combined with some humility. I feel a lot of responsibility to the people who worked so hard on my campaign.”

Kiss and Batycki shared similar values around sustainability throughout the campaign.

“Sustainability has become a buzz word and I am a little bit uncomfortable with it as a buzz word,” said Batycki.

“We kind of have to use it in a campaigning sense but I would say that another way of saying that is the green life is the good life.

“And I feel that there are people that understand that in Nelson and feel that our natural, cultural and social wealth are all completely connected to how we live on the planet and how we live together.

“Affordable housing is part of that and transit is part of that, how we grow (or don’t grow) our community is all part of sustainability, for lack of a better word.”

While it may seem that the four women on the new Nelson city council share similar values and opinions, Batycki thinks there will be differences and debate.

“It’s easy to say Candace, Paula, Donna and Deb are progressive but every issue is different and I feel that common sense and keeping in our hearts and minds what is important to the citizens of Nelson, who we are now employed to serve, is the most important thing,” said Batycki.

Macdonald, who is no stranger to election night jitters, said she was surprised, pleased and excited by the results.

“I’m really honoured to have topped the polls,” Macdonald said.

“But more than that I’m really excited to be working with the council that’s elected, in particular the two newly elected people, Paula and Candace. I think we’re going to have a really interesting term together.”

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