Kim Burden will fill the vacant seat on Parksville city council after his byelection victory on Saturday.
Burden received 523 votes, defeating Paul Reitsma (430 votes), Doug O’Brien (384), Carrie Powell-Davidson (347) and Rick Honaizer (36).
“It feels great, I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to getting to work,” Burden said Sunday. “I’m thankful to the people who made this possible. The reason I ran is I wasn’t being heard and I hope now I can be heard with a louder voice.”
Burden is the chief executive officer of the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce. He said he sought the advice of others who have held similar dual roles, specifically in relation to matters of conflict of interest. Current Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns had a similar job as Burden’s with the Tofino Chamber of Commerce when he sat on Tofino’s town council and current Campbell River city councillor Colleen Evans is also the president and CEO of that city’s chamber of commerce.
“I will step out on issues where (the chamber) has a contract with the city,” said Burden. “I will do the right thing.”
Burden said last week in The NEWS his first priority if elected would be to get the ball rolling on something to enhance or replace the boarded-up Parksville Beach Resort. On Sunday after his bye-election victory, he spoke in bigger-picture terms in relation to his first priorities.
“I have a fairly long list,” said Burden. “But first I have to find a way to communicate the need to be proactive. We are so reactive instead of proactive and that’s huge because it triggers so many other issues.”
Reitsma, a former MLA and Parksville mayor, offered Burden his congratulations.
“He will be a good addition to council,” said Reitsma. “I am thankful for the support I received, placing me a pretty close second.”
This was O’Brien’s first attempt at seeking an elected position.
“There was a lot learned,” said O’Brien. “I’m disappointed and I was a little bit shocked. I kind of thought the conflict of interest thing for Mr. Burden would have played out more, but it didn’t. But that’s the way it goes — the people have spoken.”
O’Brien was asked if he would consider another run at pubic office in the future.
“I’m not going away,” he said.
Powell-Davidson, a former city councillor, also expressed disappointment with the results.
“I was really hoping to get back on council, but voters didn’t see it that way and I respect their wishes,” said Powell-Davidson. “I wish Kim well and I will be anxious to see him at work and I will be there to support him, to support council. I’m still very interested in what happens in our beautiful little city.
Honaizer was out of town working as a sub-contractor during the campaign.
“I haven’t really been able to participate,” he said Sunday from Edmonton. “I have to go where the work is; I have to make a living.”
The results of the election were expected to be made official Monday afternoon. The byelection was called after the resignation of Al Greir in the summer. The next full municipal election is in the fall of 2018.
During the election of 2014, about 35 per cent of the estimated 9,603 eligible voters cast ballots. In Saturday’s byelection, using that same number for eligible voters, 18 per cent cast ballots.
Burden will be sworn in at the next regular city council meeting, Monday, Nov. 7 (6 p.m. at city hall).