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Sechelt election: Henderson reclaims the mayor’s seat

District of Sechelt election results are in … here is your next council

Sechelt has voted former mayor John Henderson back into power. 

Preliminary results show that Henderson secured his return to Sechelt council with 1,396 votes (47.4 per cent), ousting incumbent mayor Darnelda Siegers who received 1,008 votes (34.2 per cent). Allan Holt, who also ran in the 2018 election ended the night with 678 votes (23 per cent), while Jeri Patterson had 346 votes (11.7 per cent) to her name. 

Henderson previously served as mayor in 2011 to 2014, before he was voted out by 1,300 votes to Bruce Milne’s 2,300 votes when he sought re-election.

But it won't be a total turnover at council, where incumbents Alton Toth and Brenda Rowe nabbed the most votes with 2,100 (71.3 per cent) and 1,775 (60.3 per cent) respectively. Also elected are Donna Bell with 1,558 votes (52.9 per cent), former mayor and councillor Darren Inkster with 1,518 votes (51.5 per cent), Adam Shepherd with 1,494 votes (50.7 per cent) and Dianne McLauchlan with 1,370 votes (46.5 per cent).

The results will be officially declared by 4 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Election night reactions

As mayor-elect Henderson read out the preliminary vote tally to his supporters at Buccaneers, they burst into applause once they heard he leads the polls. 

In an interview with Coast Reporter, he said, “It's always humbling to be in a process like this, and to realize you have the support of the community. I want to compliment and congratulate everybody who stepped up [to run for election].”

Moving forward, Henderson would like to have all the Sechelt candidates involved “because we all want what’s good for Sechelt.”

Of the campaign, he says he saw different sides of the community. A diverse and involved group, as well as a negative part of Sechelt. “It's easy to be critical about something. But let's all turn our attention to being positive and how can we be even better,” he said.

After eight years away from council, Henderson says a lot will be different about his next term, and he ran a campaign on what needs to be done. The first issue council will tackle? “Water. Nobody will find that a surprise.”

While water falls under the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s jurisdiction, Henderson said council will have two of their best members to sit on the SCRD board. He expects the mayor’s role to be too busy for him to sit on the SCRD board himself. 

Communication a challenge: Siegers

For incumbent mayor Darnelda Siegers, her initial reaction to the results was disappointment, she said outside the Driftwood Inn’s Beachside Kitchen-Bar. 

“I didn’t get my message out well enough to the community,” she said. She identified getting information out to the public as one of the main challenges of her term — pandemic aside. During the campaign, she said it became evident that Sechelt residents were not aware of the water projects currently under way and coming online in a few months. 

Of her four years as mayor (following two terms as councillor), Siegers said she’s “proud of how we brought the various governments together, including the shíshálh Nation... We're small, right? We're each small in our own right. And I'm most proud of the collaboration that we created.” 

She added that she’s also proud of the difference the council has made not just by working with other governments, but with local nonprofits, individuals and programs.

Her advice to the incoming council: “Just build on what we created, what we started. I think we’ve really set a good foundation and it will move this community forward in the direction that we want to go. So just stay true to who you are, and work well together — work well with your other governments on the Sunshine Coast. Let’s just create an amazing place.”

She said she’s glad both incumbent councillors, Brenda Rowe and Alton Toth, were re-elected. They’ll be able to provide recent background to the new council. 

While Siegers does not know what her next steps look like yet, she will continue to serve the community. “That’s who I am.”

Then, Siegers and elected councillors Bell, Toth, Rowe and Shepherd joined Henderson’s celebration to congratulate the new mayor-elect.

Comparing 2022 to 2018

In Sechelt’s last election (in 2018), 4,158 people voted of 8,603 eligible voters — a turnout of nearly half the population with 48.3 per cent. Then, Siegers was voted in with 60.44 per cent of the vote  (2,513 votes) to oust incumbent Bruce Milne, who received 26.72 per cent or 1,111 votes. That year, Sechelt voted in a new slate of councillors, although four incumbents sought re-election. 

This year in Sechelt, an estimated 9,602 people were eligible to vote. The CivicInfoBC preliminary election results show there were a total of 2,945 ballots cast. 

A combined 852 ballots were cast in the advance voting days on Oct. 5 and 11, deputy election officer Kerianne Poulsen told Coast Reporter.

Where do candidates stand on the issues? 

We've covered two all candidates meetings:

Several other events took place and were recorded: 

Candidates also provided written answers to Sunshine Coast Conservation Association questions, which are available on the SCCA website. and some filled out the TraC active transportation questionnaire, available on their website. ​​​​​

We've also got profiles of all candidates available on our Sechelt election page