Sue McKortoff received the support of 1,285 Osoyoos voters Saturday to claim the mayor’s chair.
“I’m delighted. I have got a great council to work with. I’m certainly looking forward to the next four years,” said McKortoff, celebrating her victory with family and friends.
She handily defeated challengers Ray Vandenberg (290 votes) and Doug Pederson (54 votes) and becomes the first female mayor in Osoyoos’ history.
McKortoff will be joined by incumbent councillor C.J. Rhodes who received 1,199, as well as Carol Youngberg, who received 1,199, Mike Campol, 1,073 and Jim King, 1,050. Claude Moreira and Sarabjit Rai will sit as the water councillors.
Having worked with Rhodes previously, McKortoff said she’s “delighted” that he is back on for a third term.
“He knows what he’s talking about,” said McKortoff, who described him as sensible and added that she has confidence in him.
As for the other councillors, Osoyoos’ new mayor said they are feeling positive and she believes they will do a good job.
McKortoff, who has resided in Osoyoos for 46 years, is thrilled about her new title as she succeeds Stu Wells, who changed his mind about running two days before the municipal election application deadline.
At the time, McKortoff said she was anxious about her decision, all of that has since faded.
“My great grandfather was the mayor of Toronto 125 years ago,” she said. “I’m delighted and I’m sure he is as well.”
Residents also voted in favour of the Osoyoos fire hall referendum, 913-667. The Town of Osoyoos will borrow $5.962 million over 30 years according to the civic elections website. Volunteer Fire Chief Rick Jones said the Osoyoos Indian Band and Osoyoos Rural Fire Protection will contribute $1.9 million as they are partners with the Town of Osoyoos.
McKortoff, who had been a councillor for three years, said people voting in favour is a bonus.
“I think it just shows that people really went out and looked at the facts, listened to the fire hall people and made up their mind that this was the best deal we could have for 50 years,” said McKortoff, adding that the alternative approval process had failed leading to the referendum.
Fire Chief Jones is very excited voters’ supported it after they spent seven years working on the proposal for a referendum.
Jones, who has been fire chief since 2007, said the present building that houses the fire hall doesn’t meet any of the codes required.
“It has been remodeled over and over. It was built for the older fire trucks that were smaller,” said Jones, who has a 76-year-old friend who went to school in the building in Grade 1.
Osoyoos’ fire chief said the new hall will help them do their job better, while enabling them to better train and attract new fire fighters.
“It will be safer,” he said. “When we go out in the community and do fire inspections we are holding up our end of the showing that we meet the same requirements that the businesses do in the community.”