The champagne bottles are in the recycling bin, the balloons have been popped and the confetti has been swept from the floor.
Prince Rupert has spoken. The old way of doing business is exactly that, the old way.
Now it’s time to get down to the task of fixing and preparing the City of Prince Rupert for what the voters obviously want. Prince Rupert voters told the old council in no uncertain terms that things needed to change. Prince Rupert wants to grow.
While Lee Brain captured 58 per cent of the mayoral votes in a four-way battle, what was even more convincing was the emergence of Blair Mirau.
Mirau collected the most votes of any candidate with 2,915 while newcomer incumbent Barry Cunningham — who just hit council after a byelection less than a year ago — received 2,897. Brain collected 2,495. Wade Niesh and Gurvinder Randhawa captured 2,119 and 2,053 respectively.
In each of these cases, their elections can be called a landslide.
Only incumbents Joy Thorkelson and Nelson Kinney managed to crawl over the bar to retain their positions.
In what may seem to be the second most surprising outcome of the night was the ousting of Anna Ashley. Most armchair pollsters had Ashley as a comfortable lock to retain her seat.
But again, Prince Rupert wanted and signaled change and Ashley found herself on the outside looking in. To her credit, however, I doubt this will be the last we see or hear of Anna and, while a victim of the change movement, Prince Rupert will be better off with her input from time-to-time. I’m certain she will find another role in which to continue her service to this community.
Despite Ashley’s departure, the stunner of the night came from Port Edward.
Longtime councillor Murray Kristoff was ousted from around the Port Edward council table. Kristoff’s narrow ouster by six votes notwithstanding, the overwhelming return of Dave MacDonald as mayor showed that Port Edward voters, for the most part, believe that the District of Port Edward is on track.
In Prince Rupert, the voters, most decidedly said the City of Prince Rupert was not on the right track.
A lack of transparency, corporate and political antagonism, as well as, seemingly intransigent positions all led to the election of Brain, Mirau, Niesh, Randhawa and Cunningham.
A lesson mayor-elect Brain and council should keep in mind as they move forward with the business of this city.
Growth of the tax base and cooperation without capitulation with industry and related business is absolutely key to repairing the damage of years of skyrocketing public and business tax rates, disintegrating services and infrastructure.
Growing the tax base is certainly Job 1a, but if there is a 1b, it is regaining the trust of the community. Years of in-camera sessions and intransigence to forward personal or political agendas that are not in the true best interest of the city needs to come to an end.
Thank you to all who put their names forward to run. Congratulations to all of those who were elected.
But now the party is over — it’s time to get to work.