Gord Milsom is West Kelowna’s new mayor. Milson gave an acceptance speech Saturday night after votes were tallied. - Sydney Morton/Capital News

Former West Kelowna councillors offer insights to why they lost

Three councillors lost their seats during the municipal election

West Kelowna Coun. Rosalind Neis says she isn’t entirely sure why she and two other incumbents lost their seats this election, but it could simply be due to a lack of campaign advertising and the spread of misinformation.

“I didn’t spend any money on my campaign… there was a notice sent around about council’s attendance that was a lie, and I should have stood up to that,” she said.

Neis, who was also the first mayor of West Kelowna in 2007, had 35.8 per cent of the votes, Rusty Ensign had 28.5 per cent and Bryden Winsby had 23.9 per cent. In the 2014 election, Neis had 44.5 per cent, Ensign had 41. 7 and Winsby had 45.5.

“It was time for the new kids on the block to get it, I think they’ll do a great job,” she said. “I enjoyed my opportunity to represent the citizens.”

When asked to give them advice, she laughed.

READ MORE: West Kelowna’s new mayor is Gord Milsom, major council shake-up

“When you get to your first few in-camera meetings, bring a set of diapers because you’re going to s*** your pants when you find out what’s going on,” she said, and she won’t be returning to politics.

Winsby couldn’t explain why he or the other councillors wasn’t elected.

“I think I did fine at the forums, there were limited opportunities there, which I found, but it was just the way it went,” he said.

“I knew it was going to be difficult because the young guys were working hard… you think, ‘OK it’s probably the bottom three of us that were the most vulnerable and that proved to be the case. I was surprised how few votes I got, but that’s the way it is.”

Winsby said there wasn’t a lot to debate this election, either. A referendum held for a new city hall was narrowly defeated three years ago, he said.

READ MORE: Mayoral results from across B.C.

He said the new councillors should get excited about building permits, variances and land use items because it’s a majority of what council deals with and not the social change aspect.

“There’s only so much we can do, we have limited funds, we can make policies but can we start building things? I don’t think so,” he said.

He doesn’t believe the vaguely defined desire for change often discussed by political hopefuls played a role in the new councillors winning.

“None of them, to my knowledge, really explained what they meant by change… aside from the change of players,” he said. “It’s vague and it sounds good but do people really bite for that? I don’t think so.” I think it was a collective style of let’s give these young guys a chance.”

Stephen Johnston won, with 56.4 per cent of the vote, Jayson Zilkie with 44.5 per cent and Jason Friesen with 36.8 per cent join former mayor, Doug Findlater who will serve a term on council alongside incumbents Rick de Jong and Carol Zanon as West Kelowna’s new council.

The new council will be sworn in Nov. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

@carliberry_
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