With two new mayors in the area, the paths forward might look different as priorities change.
While mayoral races happened in Courtenay and Cumberland, Comox saw its new mayor acclaimed on Saturday.
Nicole Minions ran unopposed and will take the place of Russ Arnott. The mayor-elect will start her first term next month.
Minions says she wants to start off with asset management, along with building solid relationships in the community with council.
“Getting a really good handle on the rising costs of our infrastructure, so our asset management, is huge,” said Minions. “I’m really excited about some opportunities with youth recreation. We’ve done some studies with youth in Comox and we can hopefully move on some of those projects in the next four-year term.”
Minions adds she would like to work closely with K’omoks First Nation and build their relationship with them as neighbours and being on their traditional territory.
Engagement will also be a top priority for Minions, ensuring there’s good public consultation and communication to develop their vision for the future.
“That public engagement and two-way flow of information really is just so critical as we kind of look at how we want the community to look,” said Minions. “I encourage people to reach out to council or town hall or people that they know and really keep engaged about what’s happening.”
Minions also thanks everyone who put their names forward in the election this year.
The 28 per cent of residents who voted in Courtenay chose to keep its mayor for another term.
Incumbent mayor Bob Wells is mayor-elect for the city and says he is looking forward to building on work done during his last four years.
“People have seen what we can do and they’ve asked us to continue,” said Wells. “I think there’s a lot of work we need to get done.”
He says the city was able to build 1,400 new supported subsidized units and help get seniors housing.
Heading into the next term, Wells says he wants to target affordability as a priority.
“Really what happens with that is it gets intertwined with some of the mental health, addictions, brain injury and trauma issues that really ends up with people on the street,” said Wells. “We have a lot of people who are unhoused and that causes a lot of frustration in our community.
“We’re a wealthy country, we should be able to have everybody looked after.”
Wells adds they will be working collaboratively with the provincial and federal governments and making sure they know the city is a willing partner.
The Village of Cumberland elected Vickey Brown to lead the town over incumbent mayor Leslie Baird.
With a change in leadership, Brown says her first steps will be to gather council together to analyze, collaborate and choose their path forward.
“We face a lot of growth pressures in Cumberland and we need to look at those with clear eyes and figure out how we’re moving forward,” said Brown. “Cumberland is a destination community now and we need to be careful about how we grow.”
Brown adds it became apparent while knocking on doors that there are many new people in the community and integration will be key to making people feel welcome.
Brown thanks everyone who came out to vote and the community for choosing her to lead the village.