Former city councillor Carol Leclerc is to be the next mayor of Terrace following a win over challenger and current city councillor Bruce Bidgood based on votes counted for the Nov. 15 Terrace municipal election.
Early results from advance polls, special voting places at health care facilities and mail in ballots provided Leclerc with a lead she never relinquished.
Results, which were unofficial as of Nov. 15, gave Leclerc 1,456 votes compared to 969 for Bidgood.
Leclerc, who will be sworn in next month as mayor for a four-year term, will be the first woman to sit in the mayor’s chair in the city’s history.
She has council experience thanks to several terms beginning in 2003 and ending in 2011 when she decided not to run again.
Speaking on election night, Leclerc said she was very happy.
“I had no idea, absolutely no idea… the numbers were coming in and it was looking positive,” said Leclerc of her victory.
Leclerc said her first priority would be to gather the new council together with city staffers to work on a strategic plan for the next four years.
“We are going to start the planning process right off the bat. I campaigned on being inclusive and to me it’s being inclusive with council. It’s not just what I think is important it’s what all of council thinks is important. It depends on the new council and which way we are going to go together,” said Leclerc.
She listed transportation, the ongoing effort by the city to set out mixed development plans for a former sawmill site on Keith Ave. and green space as important priorities.
Bidgood said he was disappointed by the results, adding he thought the count would be closer.
“But I know that we’ve done the very best we can do… The electorate have chosen, we have to respect it.
“I thought it would be a little bit tighter,” Bidgood added of the results.
Bidgood was also chair of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district this year.
In the race for city council, the four current councillors who were running again were all returned to office.
Lynne Christiansen topped the polls with 1,663 votes followed by Brian Downie with 1,546 votes and James Cordeiro with 1,356 votes. Newcomers Sean Bujtas and Michael Prevost followed with 1,325 and 1,245 votes respectively with the fourth incumbent, Stacey Tyers, claiming the final council seat with 1,229 votes.
Two new faces were guaranteed on city council regardless as Marylin Davies resigned earlier this year because she moved away and Bidgood decided to make a run for the mayor’s chair. Unsuccessful in their council bids were Lucy Praught with 979 votes, Allan McIntyre with 962 votes, Jessica McCallum-Miller with 587 votes, Brenda Wesley with 499 votes, Craig Lyons with 338 votes and Don Dunster with 266 votes. All council tallies were unofficial as of Nov. 15.
Voter turnout was pegged at 31.7 per cent based on the total number of mayoral votes and the voter’s list. Voter turnout was 25 per cent in 2011 and 35 per cent in 2008.
With files from Anna Killen, Josh Massey and Margaret Speirs