Newcomer Bill Humphreys took the mayoral seat away from incumbent Mike Fennell by 59 votes in the Nov. 19, municipal election (Humphreys 351 votes, Fennell 292).
Humphreys said he was not surprised, “You should never go into anything you’re not going to win”.
Fennell said he was surprised, but felt he only had himself to blame after receiving a roadside suspension for driving under the influence less than a month before the election.
“I’m not going away though,” said Fennell, “I’m still passionate about Barriere and I believe in the community and its future. I’ll continue to work towards making that future sustainable and creating a good lifestyle for our residents.”
Humphreys says he thinks the transition into the Mayor’s chair “will go smoothly”.
“I think everything going forward will be pretty simple,” said Humphreys, “If things work out for Barriere all well and good, and if not we’ll take a different tack.”
The six member council for the District had two seats to fill as Councillors Ron Glanville and Rhonda Kershaw were not seeking another term.
Elected to District of Barriere Council on Nov. 19, for a third term were incumbents Ward Stamer (526 votes), Virginia Smith (470), Glen Stanley (423), and Pat Paula (408). Newcomers to join council will be Amanda Sabyan with 414 votes and Bill Kershaw with 410.
Candidates for a council seat that were not elected were Doug McGregor with 360 votes, and Kathy Campbell with 193 votes.
Bill Kershaw said, “I hope I will be able to contribute. I believe it is very important to have a council to set direction for the community.”
Kershaw said the next few months will be important for the District, “We will all have to sit down and come up with a cohesive group that will come up with good decisions,” said Kershaw.
He also noted that although he must step down from his membership in the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce now that he is a member of local government, he will remain the Board Chair for Community Futures.
Amanda Sabyan said she was hoping for the best outcome of course, but it was still “quite shocking. It’s all very overwhelming, but it will be a learning experience and I will work really hard.”
Having someone on council with a youthful outlook definitely peaked the interest of area voters.
“People I don’t know have stopped me on the street and said “I voted for you”, and I say thank you very much for doing that,” said Sabyan.
She also noted that her six-year-old daughter was one of her best supporters; boldly telling people, “I’m voting for Amanda Sabyan.”
It was reported there were 657 ballots issued in the municipal election; five were rejected for council, four rejected for mayor, and 10 rejected due to no one voted for mayor on the ballot.
The total number of votes cast was 3,847.
The District of Barriere has a possible 1,352 voters, so with a 657 voter turnout the results were just under 50 per cent; far above the provincial average where many municipalities reported less than 30 per cent.
Chief Elections Officer for the District, Colleen Hannigan, said voting was a “fair representation across the board.”
One of the folks who worked at the polling stations noted they saw quite a few people participating in their first time voting, they also confirmed there were a large number of “young moms with little kids. A pretty good cross section; it just wasn’t all old people”.
The Inaugural Meeting of the District of Barriere will be on Monday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m., at Municipal Hall (The Ridge) 4936 Barriere Town Road, in the gymnasium.
In other elections, Rhonda Kershaw won the Trustee seat for Barriere/Little Fort School Board for the Kamloops-Thompson School District 73. Kershaw finished with 402 votes over incumbent Joanne Stokes who was running for a fourth term.
Thompson Nicola Regional District Area “O” Directors Bonnie CruzelleMyram, and Area “P” Director John Sternig were not challenged and won by acclamation.