Vernon elects Victor Cumming as new mayor - InfoNews

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Vernon elects Victor Cumming as new mayor

New mayor Victor Cumming shakes hands with MLA Eric Foster.
October 20, 2018 - 10:40 PM

VERNON - Vernon has elected Victor Cumming to be the city’s next mayor.

In his second attempt for the mayor's chair, Cumming has won.

Cumming bested Vernon’s three other candidates for mayor: Darrin Taylor, Erik Oleson and Art Gourley. His platform focussed largely on attainable housing — or housing for average-to-medium-income households — to help create more residential options that match peoples’ incomes. Cumming has a university degree in economics and a masters in rural planning and development. He has six years of international development work in Botswana and Vanuatu under his belt and has also taught at Simon Fraser University, the University of Regina and the University of Victoria.

Cumming won the mayor’s seat with 4,928 votes. Taylor followed with 3,608 votes, Erik Oleson with 990, and Art Gourley with 229 votes.

Cumming was full of smiles and handshakes Saturday night at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, where he gathered with his family, friends and supporters. He admits it took him a long time — about three-and-a-half-years — to decide to run again after coming in second place in 2014.

“This is my passion,” he says of his decision to run. “I work with communities both on the social and economic side. Vernon is my community. I felt that at some point, I would like to just focus on my community. It just seemed right.”

Cumming will be stepping aside from his work at Westcoast CED to focus his full attention on being mayor. He looks forward to working with Brian Quiring, Scott Anderson, Akbal Mund, Dalvir Nahal, Kari Gares and Kelly Fehr, who won councillor seats.

Kari Gares watches as the election results come in.
Kari Gares watches as the election results come in.

“One of the concerns I had was I’ve always picked my own team,” he says of his consulting work. “So this is going to be rather new for me. The community picked the team, not me… so you’ll get a wider set of views than would normally be on a team I’m running and all those views are legitimate. We’ll have to find ways to blend them or accentuate different parts at different times. I’m pleased there’s some strengths there and some experience there.”

Several familiar faces will be resuming their roles, including incumbents Dalvir Nahal, Brian Quiring and Scott Anderson.

“I’m honoured the citizens of Vernon have re-elected me and put their trust in me,” Anderson says.

Quiring echoed that statement, saying he’s thankful to have received the confidence of the community.

“We’re going to keep thinks moving forward,” he says.

Newcomers Kelly Fehr and Kari Gares are both looking forward to getting started.

“I felt it was my civic duty to run,” Fehr says. “I didn’t run because I have political aspirations. I’m very proud of where the city is going and was concerned that it wouldn’t continue. I felt a responsibility to get out there and do it.”

Gares says she’s honoured to have been elected and looks forward to working with the rest of council.

“I love the fact that it’s a very diverse board and I think thats what Vernon needs,” she says. 

Former mayor Akbal Mund, who ran for a councillor seat and was elected, says he’s looking forward to being more vocal on council.

“I know I’ll be a little more outspoken. The mayor’s chair is general, when you’re in the general seat you manage the people. Now, it’s Victor’s turn to manage me,” Mund says. “I don’t like to get too involved but I’ll be calling some people out for some of the things they do because I think the residents of Vernon deserve to know exactly what does go on…. It’ll be very interesting, especially that first meeting.”

Mund didn’t name any names, but says he wants the public to know “exactly how things are done at council” and “do those people actually sit on council for the community or do they sit on council for personal reasons.”

“I know I do it for the community,” he says.

ELECTION RESULTS (preliminary):

MAYORAL CANDIDATES:

Victor Cumming - 4,928

Darrin Taylor - 3,608

Erik Olesen - 990

Art Gorley - 229

Out of 20 choices for councillor, voters picked the following candidates to join Cumming on council:

COUNCIL CANDIDATES:

Brian Quiring: 4,120

Scott Anderson: 4,108

Dalvir Nahal: 3,891

Kari Gares: 3,878

Akbal Mund: 3,626

Kelly Fehr: 3,512

— This story was updated at 10:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 2018 to add quotes from the winning candidates. 


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