Repeat victory for incumbent mayor Lowry

Municipal election winners discuss their plans for the Hazeltons.

Incumbent Mayor Gail Lowry will lead the District of New Hazelton for a second term after she was re-elected in a landslide victory against challenger Rob Henwood at Saturday’s B.C. municipal election.

In a repeat of the 2011 election result, when Lowry received 111 votes to Henwood’s 31, the incumbent was re-elected with a substantial lead of 95 votes to the challenger’s 18.

Lowry waited for the result at the New Hazelton Meeting Centre, where votes were counted after polling closed at 8 p.m.

She said she was pleased she would have the opportunity to continue working on projects and initiatives she was passionate about.

“I’d love to see more businesses come into town, I would really like to see that, and from there everything kind of falls as well,” she said.

“(Plans for a new Upper Skeena Arena), that’s probably our biggest thing that we are doing right now, it’s our big push.

“Ever since I’ve been mayor we’ve been working on it, going down to Victoria, meeting with ministers, every time we go to UBCM we bring it up.”

A total 113 votes were cast from an estimated 403 eligible voters.

Voter turnout dropped significantly in 2014, with about 28 per cent of eligible voters placing ballots compared with approximately 37 per cent in 2011.

Mayor Lowry said she was disappointed only 113 of 403 eligible voters turned out on the day.

“I was disappointed that it wasn’t higher … but having said that people did come to vote and that’s the main thing,” she said.

Councillors Janet Willson, Ray Sturney, Braunwyn Henwood, George Burns, Peter Newbery and Mike Weeber were returned by acclamation.

The Village of Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland and councillors Wendy Blackstock, Shirly Muldon, Buddy Smith and Nick Marshall were also acclaimed.

It was a close race for the seat of Electoral Area B director with the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine,.

Just 25 votes separated the winner, incumbent Linda Pierre, and the losing candidate Dean Paranich.

Pierre, who received 165 votes to Paranich’s 140, said she was thrilled with the result.

She said she ran an educational campaign because some First Nations voters within the regional district were not aware they could vote, or what the district does.

“When I went around to the different villages too, what I did was talk to the band councils and the health clinics and tell them about the function of the regional district and hope they would be able to pass it on,” said Pierre.

She said in her second term she hoped to encourage more involvement from different communities.

Her priorities included the development of the planned Upper Skeena Arena and the work of the Resource Benefits Alliance.

“[Through the alliance] we are negotiating for a percentage of the profits from some of these resource developments so that we can share a legacy rather than [be subject to] the boom and bust cycle,” said Pierre.

Shar McRory was elected trustee of the Coast Mountain School District 82 Electoral Area 5 (Hazelton) with 333 votes, defeating Larry Joseph who received 88.

McCrory was elated when she heard the news at home, where she had been watching the results with her family.

After she is sworn in, she said one of the first steps would be to speak with the outgoing trustee Lynn Newbery and prepare for upcoming consultations.

“We have some very important changes or proposed changes going on in the Upper Skeena region and I want to be involved with the consultation process with that,” she said.