Post-election observations

By securing a third term, John Dooley is poised to tie the record for the longest consecutive reign at nine years.

By securing a third term, John Dooley is poised to tie the record for Nelson’s longest consecutively serving mayor at nine years.

Only Norman Stibbs had as long an uninterrupted streak, from 1938-47. His achievement was even more difficult given the one-year terms of those days.

Louis Maglio was mayor for 12 years in the 1970s and ’80s, but that was over several different stints.

Turnout Saturday in Nelson was abysmal: 33.3 per cent.

That was about on par with other major centres: Castlegar 31.1 per cent, Trail 31.5 per cent, Rossland 36.9 per cent, Grand Forks 38.6 per cent, and Creston 42 per cent.

However, apathy reached new heights (lows?) in the regional district and school district: turnout across the RDCK was 21 per cent (it was even worse in the neighbouring RDKB at 14.3 per cent), and 25.9 per cent in the Kootenay Lake school district.

Some smaller centres fared better: Greenwood 69.8 per cent, Slocan 68.2 per cent, Silverton 65.4 per cent, Kaslo 60.7 per cent, and New Denver 56.1 per cent.

It took approximately half an hour for results from the Nelson council race to be known Saturday, thanks to new vote-counting machines.

A far cry from yesteryear where manual counts would sometimes go past midnight. A little less drama as a result, perhaps, but a lot less headache.

A record six women will serve as mayor of West Kootenay-Boundary municipalities for the next three years.

Already acclaimed were Salmo’s Ann Henderson and New Denver’s Ann Bunka. Add to that the re-election of Slocan’s Madeleine Perriere and Nakusp’s Karen Hamling, plus the election of Patricia Cecchini in Fruitvale and Kathy Provan in Silverton. Provan is the first woman to serve as mayor of Silverton. Cecchini succeeds Libby Nelson, making Fruitvale the first local municipality to elect two consecutive women mayors.

All three Slocan Lake municipalities will now have women mayors.

Women also have the balance of power in Nelson, Fruitvale, New Denver, Rossland, Salmo, and Slocan. The latter in 2008 became the first place in BC to elect an all-woman council, and all the incumbents were re-elected Saturday.

Only Nelson, Trail, and Warfield have never had a woman in the mayor’s chair.

Colleen Lang, the current mayor of Greenwood, will return next term as a councillor.

Closest race: Greenwood, where Nipper Kettle beat Jim Nathorst for mayor by four votes.

Gary Wright retires next month after 22 years and five months as New Denver mayor, the third-longest serving in West Kootenay history, after Slocan’s Peter Swan (27 years) and Salmo’s Willie Hearn (25 years).

Warfield’s Jim Nelson and Fruitvale’s Libby Nelson are both retiring after 15 years as mayor of their respective communities (although Jim Nelson is staying on as a councillor).

That will leave Trail’s Dieter Bogs as the longest serving active mayor in West Kootenay at 13 years and two months.

There could be as few as two changes around the Regional District of Central Kootenay board table: Area I (Rural Castlegar) where Andy Davidoff replaces the retiring John Vokykin, and Silverton, where director Carol Bell was defeated in her bid for mayor.

All the other incumbents on the 20-member board were returned Saturday.

Ron Greenlaw was unsuccessful in his attempt to follow in his father Larry’s footsteps as regional director for Area D. However, had he won, it would not have been unprecedented: Alan Wilson, director for Area A from 1999-2002, was the son of Charlie Wilson, director from 1977-82 and 1984-88.

Also, Anitra Winje, the RDCK’s deputy corporate officer, is the granddaughter of Agda Winje, the former mayor of Slocan and also the first woman to serve on the regional district board.

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