Jonathan Kerr will be the newest addition to council for the Town of Comox.
In the byelection held Nov. 27, the Comox physician attracted the most support among four candidates vying for the chance to fill the seat left vacant by Pat McKenna.
Kerr won more than half the vote, finishing with 54 per cent, and had been the first candidate to declare. He pointed to issues such as affordable housing, climate change, having a family doctor and protecting the natural environment as the top issues he heard from residents in the community.
“The same four priorities keep coming up,” he said Saturday night. “It gives me a clear idea of what I should be focusing on as a councillor.”
Through all the mainstreeting and door-knocking, he and his team ran what he calls a “listening” campaign, meeting with as many people as possible over the last four months.
“What this shows is that engaging with the public and truly learning what people care about matters,” he said. “I just can’t thank the people of Comox enough for trusting me with this honour.”
Kerr will sit on council for the next year, as local governments will go to the polls around the province in the fall of 2022.
The results were announced Saturday at the Comox Community Centre. Voting took place through the day, following advance voting on Nov. 17, 20 and 24. The results are considered preliminary, with official ones ready no later than Dec. 1. Voter turnout was estimated at 18.1 per cent.
Steve Blacklock, a commercial appraiser involved with different community groups such as the Rotary Club of the Comox Valley, posed the biggest challenge to Kerr. He gained more support on voting day than during the advance polls, but he was still well behind, finishing with 38.4 per cent of the vote.
Former council member Don Davis finished in third with 5.3 per cent support and Judy Johnson was fourth with 2.2 per cent.
In June, McKenna officially announced he was leaving the Comox Valley to go back to his hometown of Antigonish, N.S. In 2018, he won the second-most votes, behind Alex Bissinger. Voter turnout was 40 per cent, down slightly compared with the most recent elections in the community, which had between 41 and 46 per cent, but ahead of the provincial average of 35 per cent.