Lantzville’s former mayor Colin Haime will reclaim the leadership seat, after a decisive win at the polls Saturday.
Haime won a three-way fight for the Lantzville mayoralty, earning 46.8 per cent of the vote and unseating one-term mayor Jack de Jong. De Jong and Coun. Joe Bratkowski were evenly split at 372 votes.
According to preliminary results, Haime’s council will include Jennifer Millbank, the highest vote getter with 781 ballots, along with Rod Negrave, John Coulson, Denise Haime (incumbent), David Scott and Graham Savage (incumbent).
Haime said it feels good to win and in a discussion with the News Bulletin, talked about his new mandate and council – a team he admits he initially felt a little apprehension about because of politicians’ personalities.
“Trying to manage those personalities and give respect for their expertise … sometimes can be a little bit challenging,” he said, adding that with overnight reflection he’s “really excited” about the mix.
Haime, a three-term mayor, was the only person to claim Lantzville’s mayoral title until his loss to de Jong in 2011. During this election, he promised a 60-day priority to introduce a policy for the release of in-camera documents and townhall meetings. He also proposed re-working a 20-year water supply agreement with the City of Nanaimo – one move he and de Jong both point to as being behind his win.
Lantzville council inked the deal in September without prior public notice, and shortly after releasing the full, renegotiated agreement to residents for the first time. Haime said even people who were going to benefit by the agreement were bothered that council approved it without any public consultation.
He also claims pockets of areas, like Black Jack Drive and Alger Road, were excluded from the contract, while his proposed changes include amendments to provide water for “all existing residents on wells” as well as water connections to revitalize the village core.
Taking another look at the deal is one mandate he believes voters have given him, as well as controlling spending.
Developers of the Lantzville Foothills Estates had planned to begin public consultation over a phased development agreement the current council agreed to in a recent memorandum of understanding. Haime said he’s OK with a new agreement if safeguards from the original agreement remain, but that the issue will be put on the back burner for now.
De Jong, who had sought a second-term, said losing is always a bit of a disappointment, but acknowledges they went into the campaign with baggage, not the least of which was the water deal.
“Colin ran a very good campaign and certainly one of the issues was the water negotiation and the rapidity that we processed that,” de Jong said.
The voter turnout at Lantzville’s election was 49.3 per cent compared to 44.1 per cent in 2011 and 21.6 per cent in 2008. Voters also answered a referendum question on the size of council with 58.8 per cent in favour to reduce representation from a mayor and six councillors to a mayor and four. Changes will take effect in the next election.