The shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation has elected former chief Calvin Craigan to lead them for the next three years.
In a tight race on Feb. 22, Craigan finished first with 115 votes, former councillor Warren Paull came in a close second with 108 votes, and Kevin August received 78 votes.
The competitive race for four council seats saw current Chief Garry Feschuk finish first with 155 votes, followed by incumbent Christopher August with 135 votes, Randy Joe with 113 votes and incumbent Ben Pierre with 108 votes.
Coming up short of a council seat were Steven Feschuk, who finished fifth with 96 votes, former councillor Rochelle Baptiste (85 votes), Andrew Johnson (78), incumbent Ashley Joe (62), former councillor Carol Louie (60), Kaylon Quinn (57), school trustee Lori Dixon (42), Stuart Craigan (41), Anthony Paul (39) and Alvina Paul (38).
A total of 315 Band members voted, with 16 ballots declared spoiled.
The three-year term starts April 1.
Craigan, who was unavailable for comment at press time, served as chief from 1974-83 and was nominated again in 2005 but subsequently withdrew from the race.
As the only newcomer to council, Joe said the election couldn't have turned out any better.
"I felt really good about the outcome," Joe said Thursday. "It was positive. It was a really good step for the Nation. People want change and they're going to get it from this council."
Joe, 59, worked for 16 years in construction at the Lehigh aggregate operation and was also a logger and deep-sea fisherman. A residential school survivor, Joe has been a leading voice among the shíshálh in calling for redress for day scholars.
"It's the right stand. Our people are still suffering from the effects of residential schools," he said. "Some of them won't even come out of their homes, at my age."
Joe said he was keenly looking forward to serving on council alongside the more experienced members.
"I've talked to Calvin and the rest of them. They're going to teach me the ropes. It's going to be fantastic," he said.
© Coast Reporter