By Tom Hawthorn, Globe and Mail, 21 November 2005
Alan Lowe hugged supporters and choked up while thanking his son as he celebrated election to a third term as Victoria’s mayor.
Not normally known for public displays of emotion, the architect seemed relieved to have survived a campaign that was in many ways a referendum on his previous terms.
Mr. Lowe got 8,690 votes to Ben Isitt’s 7,298, a surprisingly strong challenge in what was a repeat of their 2002 showdown.
Mr. Isitt, a 27-year-old doctoral student in history, ran under the banner of the Victoria Civic Electors, an NDP farm team. The group also ran six candidates for council, but published separate campaign literature, maintained separate offices, and, on Saturday night, held separate parties.
All six incumbents on Victoria council were re-elected.
Geoff Young, an economist with a doctorate from Harvard University, returns after a six-year hiatus. The veteran councillor lost a bid for the mayor’s chair to Mr. Lowe in 1999. Mr. Young is a federal Conservative, while Mr. Lowe recently cited family responsibilities for his decision to not run for Parliament as a Liberal.
The lone newcomer to council is Sonya Chandler, a public-health nurse who was one of two Green candidates in the race.
Pam Madoff of the Victoria Civic Electors topped the polls in the at-large council election. Dean Fortin, who ran on the same slate, finished third. The other elected councillors are independents Charlayne Thornton-Joe; Helen Hughes, who returns for a sixth term; Chris Coleman; and Bea Holland, who won her fourth term with fewer than 100 votes more than first-time candidates Chantal Brodeur and Marianne Alto, both of the VCE.
“It’s not a right-wing council. It’s not a left-wing council,” Mr. Lowe said. “It’s a council that knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong.”
About 60 supporters gathered at Mr. Lowe’s campaign headquarters beside the Victoria Bug Zoo, a popular tourist attraction. Mr. Lowe, 44, was joined on stage by his wife, his mother and his eldest son.
At the Queen Mother Waterside Cafe, the NDP-backed slate held a low-key party at which the candidates who were narrowly defeated contemplated running again in three years.
“Tonight, I’ll say yes,” said Ms. Brodeur, 44, the community relations co-ordinator for Volunteer Victoria. “So close and yet so far.”
Mr. Fortin credited his party with influencing the mayor’s policies.
“We’ve been able to pull the mayor probably a lot further left than he wanted to go,” he said. “We initiated the harm-reduction strategy. He took it up. We initiated affordable housing. He took it up.”
In neighbouring Esquimalt, incumbent Mayor Darwin Robinson finished in third place as Chris Clement was returned to the mayor’s chair he held from 1990 to 1996.
Development issues were at the forefront in campaigns throughout the 13 municipalities of the Capital Regional District.
In suburban Langford, Mayor Stewart Young and all six incumbent councillors were re-elected. Other mayoral candidates seen to favour development were successful in Colwood, where Jody Twa was re-elected, and Highlands, where Mark Cardinal, a former captain of Canada’s rugby team, defeated incumbent Karel Roessingh, a musician, by 536-508.
In North Saanich, Ted Daly was re-elected mayor.
In Central Saanich, farmer Jack Mar defeated incumbent Allison Habkirk on a mayoral platform calling for the preservation of the district’s agricultural heritage.
Voters in Metchosin elected John Ranns as mayor, replacing Karen Watson, after he campaigned against “creeping urbanization” and pledged the district would remain rural in the face of the boom in Colwood and Langford.
In Saanich, the most populous municipality in the region, Mayor Frank Leonard returns to a fourth term by acclamation. Topping the poll for council was Susan Brice, a former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister who was defeated in the May provincial election.