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What message did voters send Kamloops city council?

Dale Bass was elected into Kamloops city council on Oct. 20, 2018. She will be one of four new faces joining council. The other newly elected officials include Mike O'Reilly, Sadie Hunter and Bill Sarai.
October 22, 2018 - 5:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Voters appeard to want a small makeover of their Kamloops city council and they got it after this past weekend's civic election.

Nearly 30 per cent of eligible Kamloops voters sent four new faces to Kamloops city council while four incumbents secured their seats on Oct. 20.

The newcomers include Mike O'Reilly, Dale Bass, Sadie Hunter, and Bill Sarai. O'Reilly took roughly seven per cent of the votes or 9,375 votes. He ranked third for the highest number of votes for a councillor in the Kamloops municipal election following after Arjun Singh with 12,203 votes and Kathy Sinclair with 10,806 votes.

He believes the reason why he and the three other newcomers were chosen is because of the similarities they all stood for in their campaign. Some of those key points the four new councillors focused on included affordable housing and increasing economic growth within the city.

"We all have a lot of similar things that we were campaigning on, which is great for the city of Kamloops," O'Reilly says. "If you take away the messaging, the politics, we have a lot of core values, that are the same and I think that's good for the city and we will see some big change over the next four years."

O'Reilly unsuccessfully ran in the 2014 civic election. He is the owner of Caffe Motivo in downtown Kamloops.

Incumbents Ray Dhaliwal and Donovan Cavers failed in their attempt to seek re-election. Incumbent councillor Pat Wallace confirmed her retirement early this year and Coun. Tina Lange will also be retiring from her duties as an elected official when the new council takes over.

Dale Bass, a retired newspaper reporter says although this was her first time running in the Kamloops civic election, she believes she won because of her advantage of being a well-known name around the community.

"I benefited from having 18 years at the newspaper, and I have been on about ten boards on the city as well, so I know a lot of people and I have a high profile," Bass says. "My main priority will be to continue what I have been telling people, just to keep on talking and listening to people, going to community association meetings and making sure they feel heard, and that's the thing I kept hearing throughout this campaign; that people didn't feel heard."

Sadie Hunter.
Sadie Hunter.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Stacey Krolow Photography

Sadie Hunter secured her spot with 7,441 votes. Hunter is currently the director of development for the faculty of science and school of nursing at Thompson Rivers University. She's humbled and surprised but says she's happy voters felt confident in her abilities to serve council for four years.

"I don't want to make assumptions as to why people voted for us, in general, I do think we all presented different ideas but I think it really comes down to wanting to move Kamloops forward," Hunter says. "When you take away the differences, personalities, and how we all present information we are fairly similar in terms of looking ahead to our future and wanting Kamloops to grow."

Bill Sarai, a letter carrier for Canada Post, secured his spot on Kamloops city council with 7,218 votes. He attributes his win to wanting to be a fresh voice on council, and he believes the majority of people agree with him.

"We all had the same issues on our platforms," Sarai says. "Some of us just had them in a different order...we all have a passion for the city and a love for the city."

The newly elected officials will be sworn in on Monday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at The Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre.

For past stories on the Kamloops municipal election go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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