Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt (left) is joined by Cranbrook Councillors Wesly Graham (centre) and Mike Peabody on election night, Oct. 20, in Cranbrook. Graham and Peabody will be joining fellow incumbents Norma Blissett, Danielle Eaton and Ron Popoff, and newly elected Wayne Price, on Cranbrook Council for the next four years. Barry Coulter photo

Incumbent advantage holds in Cranbrook

Incumbents re-elected for Cranbrook and Kimberley Councils, plus some newcomers

Those who voted in Cranbrook’s municipal election on Saturday by and large expressed their satisfaction with City Council of the previous four years.

All five incumbents who were seeking a second term were re-elected, according to unofficial results released Saturday evening, Oct. 20. Council will see one newcomer — retired Fire Chief Wayne Price, who will fill the Council seat vacated by retiring councillor Isaac Hockley.

In total, 4,012 ballots were cast in the 2018 Cranbrook municipal election.

Final results from Saturday are as follows:

• Mike Peabody – 2601

• Wayne Price – 2589

• Norma Blissett – 2280

• Ron Popoff – 2260

• Danielle Eaton – 2219

• Wesly Graham – 1772

• Jordan Fiorentino -1480

• Randy Tapp -1411

• Melodie Hull – 1374

• Curt Rasmussen – 838

Wayne Price, the lone newcomer to council chambers, said he is looking forward to getting business underway at city hall with a cast of familiar faces.

“Obviously, the public was satisfied with the job that the last council was doing; I think they did a very good job, and certainly the polls indicated that,” said Price.

Wes Graham, who won re-election as an incumbent, said hte is grateful to be around for anther term.

“It was a hard race,” Graham told the Townsman after results were announced. “We worked hard to get out and meet the people and hear their concerns. Hopefully, they would put their faith in me again, and the public did, so I’m very grateful. There was a lot of pressure coming into it, but I feel good now.

“Looking ahead — we did some good groundwork in the last four years; we’ll be building on that, working with our infrastructure and housing, and I think we got a good team in place to move the city forward.”

Councillor Mike Peabody came out with the most votes of all those running. He had taken his seat just one year ago after winning a byelection to replace Tom Shypitka, who had been elected as MLA for Kootenay East.

“I’m happy with the campaign now,” Peabody said, reflecting on the past month. “Anyone who does this has mixed feelings going in — one day you think you have a great campaign, the next day you think the world is crashing, the next day it’s good again. I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s supported me.”

Ron Popoff, an incumbent councillor who was elected for a second term, celebrated with family, friends and campaign volunteers at his home on Saturday night.

“I’m feeling great, I think the voters captured what we need to look at going forward as a city council,” said Popoff. “Congratulations to all the candidates who put themselves forward to seek election in our city council.”

Popoff congratulated the election of Price, a familiar face to city hall as he previously headed up Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services for over a decade.

Popoff said the first order of business is for the new councillors and mayor to get comfortable with each other and hammer out a strategic priority list.

“Our first order of business is relationship-building,” Popoff said. “When someone new comes onto your team, how do we — as a team — want to function and what do we see as important going forward?”

Norma Blissett said Council would be moving ahead on infrastructure improvements and other ongoing matters, including the proposed indoor sports facility, and the debate over its location.

“I’d like to see the KEYSA issue dealt with in public,” Blissett said. “I think that will happen in the next little while.

“And there are some proposals for housing, and we’ll deal with those as they come up.”

Blissett was coming off her third election campaign, including the municipal election of 2014 and the provincial election of 2013, when she ran for the NDP.

“I’m very grateful that the election date was moved up,” she said of the 2018 campaign. “As soon as Labour Day passed, we were into election mode from then on.

“It’s different campaigning as an incumbent,” she added. “We still had council meetings, I had school of course [Blissett works as a teacher], and now I had an election campaign on top of that.

“But it was a real pleasant campaign. Everyone was courteous and supportive. It was quite nice between all the candidates.”

Danielle Eaton, who was also elected as part of the team that swept the races in 2014, said she is glad to be back.

“I’m happy that the community trusts me to be their voice and that our entire council is back,” said Eaton. “…I’m not surprised that Cranbrook brought us all back; we worked extremely hard and we’ve accomplished quite a bit as a team. It did not surprise me that Wayne is our new addition — he has dedicated so much to our community and I knew that residents recognized his work ethic and his determination to create a better Cranbrook.”

Mayor Lee Pratt, who ran unopposed this election, said he was looking forward to the next four years.

“I’m not surprised the incumbents all got re-elected. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last four years, and I think the city realizes that we have to continue down that path.

“I’m very happy with the results, and looking forward to the next four years.”

Results will be officially validated this week at Cranbrook city hall.

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