Urban planner Sam Austin is the new councillor for Dartmouth Centre, with 30.6 percent of the (unofficial) vote.
The wide open race had eight candidates vying to replace longtime incumbent Gloria McCluskey (who stepped down this month). Behind Austin came Tim Rissesco at 21.6 percent, and Kate Watson at 20.4 percent.
Austin celebrated the news in his home with family and friends. He said the results were hard to believe.
“You know it’s a surreal experience, it honestly is, to have so many of your fellow neighbors and friends and people vote for you like that, and especially to follow someone like Gloria McCluskey.”
Austin ran in 2012 against McCluskey, finishing second.
Second-runner-up Watson said she was disappointed by the defeat—not only for herself, but also for the sake of gender parity on council.
“It’s a feeling like, I’ve worked hard and I would be a good councillor. Not to say that the other people wouldn’t, but when is it our time? This is 2016 and I think there are going to be fewer than 25 percent women [on council]. Why are we going down instead of up?”
Austin agreed with her sentiment.
“I would hope that in the next election more women step up to run, that’s the only way we’re going to get more women on council, is to give people more choice,” the new councillor said. “Congratulations to everybody that did step up to run, it’s an amazing experience.”
Runner-up Tim Rissesco was, like Watson, disappointed with the night's results, but expressed thanks to his campaign team and acknowledged that Austin would do a good job on council.“The fact that it split this way was disappointing, but at the end of the day, as a resident of Dartmouth Centre, I’m pleased we’re going to have a good representative on council,” he said.
Aside from Rissesco and Watson, Gabriel Enxuga, Ned Milburn, Adam Bowes, Derek Vallis and Warren Wesson also had their names on the ballot.