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Silas White has a landslide win in Gibsons

Silas White comes away 82 per cent of the vote

Local government leadership experience came out as the choice of Gibsons’s voters on Oct. 15. Four of the five council members-elect of its Town council for the 2022-2026 term have been there before.  

Preliminary results show Silas White, who served as a councillor in the 2014-2018 term, handily defeated his competition to occupy the centre seat at the council table. According to the preliminary results, White came away with 1,241 votes – 82.4 per cent of the vote handily defeating fellow mayoral candidates Leslie Thomson, who got the nod from 196 electors (13 per cent) and Phil Leung, the top choice on 38 of the ballots cast (2.5 per cent).

Incumbents return

The three incumbent councillors who ran in the election re-secured their seats. Incumbent Coun. David Croal topped the polls with 870 votes (57.8 per cent).  The vote tally for Coun. Annemarie De Andrade was 868 (57.6 per cent), with Coun. Stafford Lumley selected on 813 ballots (54 per cent). 

The lone newcomer to the council table this term will be Councillor-elect Christi Thompson, who received 826 votes (54.8 per cent).

This will be Lumley’s third term on council – he was first elected in 2014.  In 2018, Lumley was the councillor with the second-highest vote count with 963 votes. In 2018, Croal received 907 votes and De Andrade 888 votes. 

‘We are not alone’

White was joined by the town’s four councillors-elect for the upcoming term at Tapworks in lower Gibsons to celebrate their victories with a full house of patrons after the polls closed on Oct. 15.

In closing a seven-minute address to the group gathered, White stated, “With all the challenges we are facing, we are not alone. These are things many communities are facing. The voters of the Town are putting our community in a great position to meet challenges head on. One thing I have said consistently, because of the crises we are facing, we have an opportunity to make the next four years in Gibsons transformative, innovative and positive, and I’m ready.”

He told Coast Reporter he was “excited and pleased with [tonight’s] results. It’s a great team that the public has given me and a very strong mandate for me as mayor.”

When asked about the council members elected to work with him, White said, “This is definitely a group I can work with. I have worked with Stafford [Lumley] on council in the past and we got a lot done. David [Croal] and Annemarie [De Andrade] both worked incredibly hard as councillors in the past term and voters recognized that. Christi [Thompson] is a really exciting newcomer. She has a lot of great ideas that she is bringing to the table and voters saw that in her.”  

White said he has been working on his plan to transition from citizen to mayor for the past four years. “I’ve been taking notes. I will be in touch with CAO Machado and outgoing Mayor Bill Beamish and the formal transition will happen soon.”  

“There will be a lot of planning. We have a lot of very significant issues facing us. I am going to get right into advocacy, writing letters and arranging meetings with provincial ministers on a number of issues, BC Ferries, health care, other transportation issues, those are going to begin right away. Also I’ll be giving a lot of consideration to ways that we can improve our governance in the town and have a look at structuring our meetings and public participation in a way that really reflect this council and really reflects our community.”

White said he would be discussing the Town representation on the Sunshine Coast Regional District Board with his new council but will consider putting his name forward. “It’s a huge workload and time commitment but I have done it before.”  

‘The people of Gibsons were not ready for a change’: Thomson

Coast Reporter reached out to the mayoral candidate who came in second to White, Leslie Thomson, who said that he was “disappointed” with the results, stating “the people of Gibsons were not ready for a change.” He said he would be watching the work of the new council and that he plans to remain engaged with them and did not rule out another run for a council seat in the future. The candidate who place third in the race for mayor, Phil Leung did not respond to Coast Reporter’s call or email. 

Count remains preliminary

Despite the use of automated vote count machines, the release of election results took over an hour to be made public. The count released remains preliminary until final results are confirmed by local election officials which must occur by 4 p.m. on Oct. 19.

In Gibsons, 510 people voted in advanced polls, Elizabeth Quayle, communications coordinator for Town of Gibsons told Coast Reporter. 

Gibsons has an estimated 3,863 eligible voters in 2022, according to Civic Info. The total number of ballots cast in Gibsons was 1,506.

Voter turnout in Gibsons in 2014 was among the highest in the province at 62 per cent. That dropped in 2018 to 47.5 per cent, which still compared favourably to the provincial average of 36 per cent.  

The Mayor’s annual salary was $41,215 and Councillors made in the $21,000 a year range according to the Town’s 2021 financial statements. 

Where do candidates stand on the issues? 

We've covered three all candidates meetings:

Sunshine Coast Conservation Association hosted a virtual all-candidates meeting focusing on climate change. The recorded event is available on YouTube. Candidates also provided written answers to SCCA, which are available on its 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 Gibsons election page