Official results for the Castlegar city council by-election are in and Arry Dhillon has won a seat on council by a very narrow margin of only 10 votes.
The official results released on Monday were unchanged from the preliminary results released Saturday night. Dhillon received 692 of a total of 1,844 votes, with Cheryl MacLeod close behind at 682 votes.
“I’m hugely thankful to all the people that helped me and supported me in the campaign, and all the volunteers that came out,” said Dhillon. “They pretty much did it. Like the volunteers — 10 votes is not much. Without volunteers that becomes a very tough task to do on your own.”
Now that he’s been elected, Dhillon, who is a certified general accountant, says his first priority will be to look at the City’s finances to see what’s possible.
“To me, all of the decisions are going to come out of the budget, like from an accounting perspective, so what you can do, what you can’t do, how you can do it, and how you can move forward with your priorities,” said Dhillon. “So I have to take my priorities, find out where the budget’s at, where the areas are that we can try to shift toward the priorities that the people in the city, at the doorstep, want to see happen.”
Dhillon specifically mentioned finding a way to have a weekly garbage pickup in the summer and a reimbursement for low-income seniors. He also wants to help improve transparency at City Hall.
“[I’d like to see] more community outreach and having more people show up to budget consultation meetings,” said Dhillon.
Asked what he thinks he did right during his campaign, Dhillon said he thinks it was his door-to-door approach, going from home to home so he could base his platform on what he heard from Castlegar residents. “It was the door knocking I think and people saw that, respected that and that’s what I got a lot of comments about.”
Full preliminary results and voter turnout
Of the 1,844 votes cast, 37.5 per cent were for Dhillon and 37.0 per cent were for MacLeod. Janna Sylvest received 21.6 per cent of the total vote with 398 votes and Tyler Maddocks received 3.9 per cent with 72 votes.
A total of 683 advance and special votes were cast in the by-election. MacLeod received 42.9 per cent of advance and special votes, with 293 votes, while Dhillon only received 35.4 per cent (242) of advance and special votes. It was on general voting day that Dhillon took the lead, with 38.8 per cent or 450 of the 1,161 general votes cast. MacLeod received 33.5 per cent of the general voting day ballots.
The final voter turnout was 31 per cent, a significant increase from the last by-election in 2013, when the voter turnout was 16 per cent. There were 126 new registrants and five new non-resident property electors who registered during the by-election.