Ben Maartman, pictured in his ‘farm office,’ has been elected as Area H director. (Photo submitted)

Ben Maartman, pictured in his ‘farm office,’ has been elected as Area H director. (Photo submitted)

North Oyster regional director elected by eight-vote margin

Ben Maartman will be sworn in Dec. 8

Ben Maartman has been elected as director of CVRD Area H (North Oyster/Diamond) after a recount this morning, Dec. 1, of this past weekend’s byelection. He won by eight votes.

RELATED: Preliminary Area H byelection results show Maartman up by seven votes, McNab to ask for recount

Maartman will be sworn in as director on Dec. 8. Once he is sworn in he will choose an alternate director to replace current alternate director, Colin Haime.

After his orientation, Maartman will be put to work quickly, with a full day of Cowichan Valley Regional District budget meetings on Dec. 9.

“I’ve been following it, but getting all the inside information will be important. It’s going to be like jumping in the deep end,” Maartman said.

Given that Maartman takes on the role of director during the CVRD’s budget process, it’ll be at least a few months before he can turn any of his campaign promises into actionable items. However, Maartman is looking to make good on his promise to improve communications within Area H over the next few weeks.

RELATED: Candidates share their vision for the future of Area H

On Dec. 17, Maartman will hold a community Zoom meeting to ask Area H residents what kind of communication they want from him. He has purchased the domain http://areah.ca, and said he wants the community to help shape the content on the website.

“The website needs to reflect what the community wants to hear,” he said.

Maartman will continue to hold community Zoom meetings. He said that getting people to participate in Zoom meetings is a challenge, and he looks forward to a post-pandemic environment where he can host community hall meetings throughout Area H.

“As soon as we can move to a community hall we will. The idea is to have people come to talk, meet, gather, and share their thoughts and ideas together.”

The election came down to wire, with Maartman winning by a total of eight votes over Murray McNab. Although McNab led in advance voting and general voting day ballots, Maartman carried the election with 28 mail ballot votes over McNab’s 11 mail ballot votes.

McNab said he accepts the results of the election and that he wishes Maartman all the best as Area H director. McNab will continue to be involved in Area H committees, and is mulling another election bid in the CVRD’s general election in October 2022.

editor@ladysmithchronicle.com

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