In a battle of youth versus experience in the four-person race for two school trustee seats in Parksville Qualicum Beach, voters split, with Elaine Young, who spent 20 years as an educator and counsellor, elected, along with 20-year-old college student Jacob Gair.
“Wow, that’s fantastic, amazing to hear,” Gair said when The NEWS called to give him the results. “Initially I wasn’t too confident, but I spoke to a lot of people who wanted youth represented on the board.” He said one of his first priorities will be re-introducing the idea of a student representative on the board and looking at getting more computers into the schools.
While Gair didn’t have an election webpage or take full advantage of social media, he said he and his family and friends were active on Facebook.
The election officer stressed that the results are preliminary, but with all the ballots counted for School District 69’s two municipalities plus regional district Area G (French Creek, Dashwood, San Pareil and Lasqueti Island) Young received 2,726 and Gair 2,402. Not elected were Jane Williams with 2,372 and Willow Bloomquist with 2,217.
In Area F (Errington, Coombs, Hilliers) incumbent Julie Austin beat newcomer John Hildebrandt earning 411 votes to his 205.
“I was pleased to run against John, I think he would have had a lot of positive ideas,” Austin said. “I think this will be another really challenging year and I think voters wanted some continuity on the board.”
She said they will still be dealing with the reconfigured schools, heading into budget time, and “transportation and safety will be a really big one for me, I’d like to see us get creative.”
Young said it was a good campaign but she would have liked to have seen more all-candidates forums.”
“My first priority will be to attend all the meetings and learn as much as I can,” she said, adding their should be follow-up on rumours of people having trouble figuring out where to vote for Area G trustees since the regional district director was acclaimed without an election.
Incumbents Eve Flynn (Area E: Nanoose Bay) and Barry Kurland (Area H: Bowser, Deep Bay) were acclaimed without anyone running against them.
Official results will be available at the end of the week.