By Chris Stedile
and Betsy Kline
The results are in for this years civic elections and the City of Castlegar will not be seeing much change within the council.
Mayor Lawrence Chernoff has been re-elected along with all five incumbents, Kevin Chernoff, Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, Deb McIntosh, Dan Rye, and Florio Vassilakakis. Newcomer, Bruno Tassone, has secured his place as the sixth member of council.
The official tally shows Mayor Chernoff has beaten out challenger Gordon Zaitsoff with a count of 1486 to 832.
Mayor Chernoff was in his home with close friends and family — eagerly awaiting the results — when Chief Administrative Officer John Malcolm phoned and notified him that he had one the election by over 600 votes.
“I really appreciate the community support,” Chernoff said. “To me that’s what it was all about. I work for the community and to see the community support me in this election is outstanding and very, very much appreciated.”
When asked what comes next the Mayor had this to say.
“It’s a lot of work for me in the next four years, but for now I’ve got communities to set up and lots of work before the inaugural meetings on December 1. We’ve got a direction and our team has worked really well together and I think were going to carry on what we’ve done in the past. To have the incumbents come back strong; that to me is great confidence in the community and makes that effort we put in on a daily basis very rewarding.”
This is the second time Zaitsoff has ran against Chernoff. The two went head to head in the 2011 elections as well, with Mayor Chernoff wining 1,020 to 786.
“It’s always good to have a challenge, you know, and I accept that challenge on a regular basis because I understand what the job is,” said Mayor Chernoff.
“I feel good about what we did and it’s progress for the community.”
The first Gord Zaitsoff heard of Mayor Chernoff’s victory came while listening to the radio. Chernoff had just begun a radio phone interview when he was given result info and reported them himself. Zaitsoff received 36% of the votes. Although disappointed with the results, Zaitsoff took heart that over 800 people voted for a change. After graciously calling Chernoff and offering his congratulations Zaitsoff expressed his feelings about the results.
“Obviously I am a little disappointed. The (incumbent) group had formed an unofficial coalition; that became pretty apparent the last week. It is pretty tough when you are running by yourself against six individuals. I think we were able to put some issues on the table for them to have a look at, just like the last election. I have always been working for the people. Sometimes you have to bring issues forward that are not popular. I guess that is where I bring things to the forefront that people sometimes don’t want to hear; but it definitely gets people thinking about what should be done and working on a resolution.”
For city council the votes were as follows:
Tassone came first with 1,346 votes followed by Rye (1,324), McIntosh (1,314), Heaton-Sherstobitoff (1,248), Vassilakakis (1,238), Kevin Chernoff (1,186).
Those who ran but were not elected include Dave Grantham (1,132), Kere Macgregor (1,109) Tyler Colin Maddocks (966) and John Donald William Phillip (710).
Rick Smith has been elected as Regional District of Central Kootenay director for Area J.
Smith knocked off incumbent director Gord Zaitsoff by 151 votes, 353 to 202.
For School District #20 the elected trustees for Castlegar are Rosann Brunton (1,245) and Mickey Kinakin (1,330) and for rural Castlegar it is Teri Ferworn (196).
Rural Castlegar’s Peter Moll (116) and Castlegar’s Catherine Zaitsoff (1,217) were not elected.
The acclaimed trustees are Toni Driutti, Gordon Smith, Darrel Ganzert and Kim Mandoli.