Election 2014: Penticton chooses Jakubeit for mayor

Penticton voters chose to send a mix of old and new faces to city council.

A jubilant Andrew Jakubeit hugs his wife LeAnne and gives the thumbs up to supporters as the poll results are read out

A jubilant Andrew Jakubeit hugs his wife LeAnne and gives the thumbs up to supporters as the poll results are read out

Penticton voters have selected Andrew Jakubeit as the city’s mayor for the next four years.

“I look forward to the opportunities the community has entrusted in us,” said Jakubeit, who added he was “very proud and very humbled” by the community’s support.

A lot of us talked about economic vibrancy and a number of other things to bring Penticton forward. I think it will be a matter of council getting together and really standing behind what we all platformed on. Instead of just saying words, actually put these things into action. I am really looking forward to this new council, it is a great group.

With 5,126 votes, Jakubeit was comfortably ahead of fellow former councillor John Vassilaki (3,012 votes). Vassilaki’s choice to run for mayor, and the subsequent loss, means the 12-year veteran councillor will not be returning to city council.John Vassilaki watches as his 12-year political career winds to a close

“The citizens have made their choice and we have to take it as it comes,” said Vassilaki, who also said he doesn’t plan to run again in four years. “It was an excellent campaign. I think 12 years was a good run and I did the best I could for the community.”

Joining Jakubeit around the council table will be incumbent councillors Judy Sentes (2,890 votes) and Helena Konanz (3,626 votes), who managed to retain their seats on council. Katie Robinson was not returned.

There will be four new faces as well. Out of a large field of new candidates, Penticton voters chose Andre Martin (3,090 votes), Tarik Sayeed (2,786 votes), Campbell Watt (3,925 votes) and Max Picton (4,251 votes).

“We got some new faces on council and that is going to be very exciting for us,” said Jakubeit. “They are all people I had on my list.”

Jakubeit said he wasn’t surprised to see Picton topping the polls for councillor.

“He ran a good campaign, he has a good following,” said Jakubeit. “I think for a long time, the younger demographic didn’t feel that engaged in politics here.”

Picton, said he saw lineups at the polls all day. He thought that was a positive sign.

“The great thing about this turnout is we have a vote that really reflects the will of the people, not a small minority,” said Picton, who was running for council for the first time. “We need the public to decide, not a limited pool of voters.”

Though this election received a lot of play on social media over the last few months, the long lineups all day at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre may have been misleading. Even late in the day, with less than 30 minutes before closing, the lineup still stretched out the door.

But the preliminary results show a smaller turnout than the 2011 election, with only 8,424 votes cast out of a possible 26,806 voters, or only 31.4 per cent. In 2011, Penticton saw a 33.5 per cent turnout, with 8586 out of 25,632 possible voters participating.

Voters had an easier time of it selecting school board trustees, with only six people running for Penticton’s four seats on the Okanagan Skaha School District board. Bruce Johnson (4.072 votes) and Shelly Clarke (3,381 votes) were both re-elected and will be joined by Barb Sheppard (3,870 votes) and former Penticton Secondary principal Bill Bidlake, who topped the polls with 4,224 votes. Linda van Alphen and Julie Planiden, representing Summerland and Ginny Manning, representing the rural areas, were all elected to the board by acclamation.

Penticton preliminary results