Cheers and chants of “Kevin, Kevin” erupted out of the back room of Penny Farthing Public House Saturday with the announcement that Oak Bay has a new mayor. Kevin Murdoch took a landslide victory over incumbent Nils Jensen for the mayor’s seat in Oak Bay in the 2018 municipal election.
“It is a little surreal. I feel honoured to be trusted by the community to do the work,” said Murdoch, who expressed his excitement about the team he will be working with. “I think it’s awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better team of people to be sitting around the table and I’m just thrilled to have an opportunity to work with them.”
Joining Murdoch on council is Hazel Braithwaite, Tara Ney, Cairine Green, Eric Zhelka, Esther Paterson and Andrew Appleton.
“The people in Oak Bay have made a decision, and it is an overwhelming decision. Obviously there was an appetite for change,” said former five-term mayor of Oak Bay, Christopher Causton, who threw his support behind Murdoch early in the campaign. “They decided that Kevin Murdoch, running with the experience that he’s got, the entrepreneurial skills he’s got, and the tech skills he’s got, was the perfect candidate at the time. I think Oak Bay has made a very wise decision.”
Nils Jensen said it’s “clear that Oak Bay wants to move in a different direction, adding that he’s happy to finally get “his life and wife back” after seven years as mayor.
“We took the high road all along,” he said. “We had a respectful election and I wish them [the opposition] all the very best; and given the promises that I heard from the other side, I hope the deer to be gone in a year, and the infrastructure to be replaced in five.”
The count for the mayoral race was 5,042 for Kevin Murdoch and 2,138 for Nils Jensen.
Final results for council are: Hazel Braithwaite 5,149, Tara Ney 4,001, Cairine Green 3,871, Eric Zhelka 3,754, Esther Paterson 3,688 and Andrew Appleton 3,290.
The energy is high and the room is packed at Penny Farthing Public House as Kevin Murdoch, Hazel Braithwaite, Eric Zhelka, Esther Paterson and their supporters are here awaiting the results of the 2018 Municipal Election #yyjvotes #yyj #yyjpoli #oakbay pic.twitter.com/zHrsihrrzf
— Oak Bay News (@OakBayNews) October 21, 2018
Deborah Jensen, an election official with the District of Oak Bay, said the Monterey Recreation Centre – one of three polling stations in Oak Bay– was busy throughout the day, especially between mid-morning and 4 p.m. At 7 p.m., 1848 people had cast their ballots at the Centre, a very strong turnout for the community.
“It’s been busy all day; lines were probably around 25 to 40 minutes around late morning and early afternoon,” she told Oak Bay News. “But everybody held on and we tried to get people through as efficiently as possible.”
The other two polling stations in Oak Bay – Monterey Middle School and Emmanuel Baptist Church – had similarly strong turnouts. About 1,600 voters went through Monterey school, and 1,495 showed up to vote at the church.
No significant issues marred the day.
“It was a pretty smooth day,” Deborah Jensen said.
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