Kingston’s next mayor is Bryan Paterson.
The announcement was made Monday night after six mayoral candidates declared nearly three months ago.
Paterson, who currently represents Trillium District on City Council, won with 38.15 per cent of the vote — 13,577 total ballots.
He faced two other city councillors, Rick Downes and Dorothy Hector, as well as Scott Foster, Michael J. M. Owen and Brenda Slomka.
Hector received 8,663 votes and 24.34 per cent of the total; Downes had 8,388 votes, or 23.57 per cent; Slomka received 4,108 votes and 11.54 per cent; Foster received 492, or 1.38 per cent; and Owen received 362 votes, or 1.02 per cent.
In Portsmouth District, incumbent Liz Schell won her City Council seat with 57.99 per cent of the vote. In Williamsville, incumbent Jim Neill won with 55.99 per cent. Peter Stroud won the Sydenham District seat with 56.75 per cent, and King’s Town incumbent Rob Hutchison won with 66.76 per cent.
The total number of voters was 35,856. In the 2010 municipal election, there were 30,681 total votes cast.
Paterson said he’s “very humbled and honoured” to be elected the next mayor.
“We’re going to be getting to work tomorrow, and we’re going to be obviously tearing down our campaign and planning the rest of the way forward, but certainly looking forward to sitting down with each of the new councillors around the table,” Paterson told the Journal following the announcement.
“The team building I think is a critical piece, but honestly I’m excited to push forward an agenda to build and grow our local economy. I really believe that the unifying vision, that everybody in the community can come behind, and I think as we do that we’re going to make our community that much stronger.”
He said he plans to meet with Council to decide on key priorities for the City over the next four years.
“Out of that, then I think we’re going to start to work to actually make it happen and make sure that we can institute the positive change that we need in our community,” he said.
Hector, who currently represents Lakeside District, didn’t concede until almost midnight.
“I think [Paterson will] be a great mayor. He was a great councillor and I wish him so much good will because he’s got a tough road to toe in the next Council,” she said.
At her election night party, she didn’t give a speech, saying she spoke to each person there individually.
She said she has no solid plans for the future and would be looking around to see what to do next.
“We did everything in our plan,” she said of the campaign.
“Everything was left on that playing field, and there are no regrets.”
Downes, who currently represents Cataraqui District, conceded when 27 of 40 total polls had reported.
“Brenda Slomka had a great campaign and I think that a lot of the votes that might have come our way, there was a split vote between Brenda and our campaign,” he said in his concession speech.
“I think the second thing that was at work was that there was a very strong push of the Liberal party to pull vote for Bryan Paterson. So those things I think combined to, to hurt us.”
He thanked his team for their hard work and said he’d continue to watch, but added that things looked “disappointing”.
Slomka said that she was “at peace” with the results, but concerned about voter turnout.
“While everything is not formally official, there’s a good sense that we probably won’t get to 30 per cent voter turnout and that is very concerning to me,” she said.
“70 per cent of the people that could vote didn’t cast a vote, so what do we have to do to reengage them, to allow them to see that municipal governance is extremely relevant to their lives and that they have a say?”
She said she’s going to continue to be involved in municipal politics.
“Tomorrow I’m going to clean up my office and I’m going to go back to work, and I’m going to continue to be involved in some of those volunteer pieces and leadership,” she said. “And showing up to Council and staying involved in those ways, and then just see what doors open.”
Foster said when he went into the election, he was facing the possibility of running against current mayor Mark Gerretsen.
“The chances of being a dark horse candidate are being very dark, so there’s no real expectation to win on that,” Foster said, “but what I’ve been able to do is to raise maybe about a dozen or so issues, which the new Council will need to address.”
He added that the election of Paterson as mayor could change the balance of Council.
“It could swing the way that this council actually addresses more of the issues in the future,” he said.
“It’s an interesting election and it’s probably the best election we’ve had probably in about 20 years. I’m amazed at how many close races we have.”
Owen said his first foray into politics was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.
“I think it’s not that people don’t care about politics — they were disengaged because it didn’t seem that anybody really listens to their issues,” he said.
“So it was really encouraging for me to run on that and make so many contacts with private citizens, people voting, people who live in the city and have a voice.”
— With files from Natasa Bansagi, Kate Meagher, Mishal Omar and Jacob Rosen
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