Outgoing mayor Rob Sawatzky congratulates Akbal Mund after it was announced that he won the Vernon mayoralty race Saturday at the Kalamalka Rotary Dream Auction at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.

New team formed to lead city hall

Council will consist of a new mayor, four incumbent councillors and two new councillors for four years.

Vernon voters have brought together seven diverse individuals to work on their behalf.

As a result of Saturday’s election, city council will consist of a new mayor, four incumbent councillors and two new councillors for four years.

“With different opinions, we have to work as a team on how to get to a common goal,” said Akbal Mund, mayor-elect.

“You have to work together. Our common ground is we all care.”

The new council will be sworn into office Dec. 1 and Mund will meet with each of his councillors before then.

“I want to get to get their ideas on where the community wants to go,” he said, adding that he must also consider appointments to committees, including the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Incumbent Brian Quiring, who topped the polls, believes the next four years will be positive.

“I am thankful the four incumbents got back in and I am looking forward to working with Akbal,” he said.

“I am focusing on downtown and economic development. We need to rejuvenate downtown.”

Incumbent Bob Spiers says the council composition is reasonable and he believes a major focus will have to be the failed regional water referendum.

“We have to revisit the master water plan and make it feasible,” he said, adding that he also wants to ensure the city’s transportation plan includes a bypass option.

Juliette Cunningham says she was pleased to see that she and the three other incumbents retained their seats.

“It’s a reflection that we are taking the city in the right direction and making tough decisions,” she said.

“We have laid a good foundation for our relationship at the regional district. I hope with the three new members that they will recognize how important that piece is for the community.”

Catherine Lord, also an incumbent, anticipates the new council will work well together.

“Akbal is really approachable and he will pull us together like Rob (Sawatzky) did. He also brings a fresh approach,” she said.

“I hope to continue with the positive relationship with the regional district and on culture.”

This is the first foray into politics for Dalvir Nahal, who works for the provincial government.

“I was hoping for a few more new faces. That being said, I am excited to get down to business and work with the team the people of Vernon have elected,” she said.

“The first order of business really is getting to know each other and going from there.”

Scott Anderson, who is in communicaitons, filled out the sixth council seat.

“Where we go as council depends on what direction Akbal puts us in,” said Anderson.

“I want to bring city hall closer to the citizens and have their voices heard.”

The new council will hold an orientation session Nov. 27 and 28, including a tour of city facilities. Prior to Dec. 1, Mund will also meet with retiring mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“It will be a congenial and productive hand-over,” said Sawatzky.

“There will be a learning curve (for Mund) but he is blessed with a strong returning council and administration.”


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