Mayco Noel is Ucluelet’s new mayor.
Preliminary results from Ucluelet’s municipal election were released around 11 p.m. Saturday night and show Noel secured roughly 45 per cent of the vote with 356 votes, defeating Randy Oliwa, 210 votes, Bill Irving, 142 votes, and Kevin Cortes, 84 votes.
READ MORE: Ucluelet mayor will not run for re-election
“I’m delighted. I’m overwhelmed, emotional and I’m just ecstatic that the community has spoken to give me the confidence to be the mayor of the community,” Noel told the Westerly News late Saturday after the results were released.
He spoke highly of his fellow mayoral candidates.
“I adore them all,” he said. “They’re all great, great, candidates. I just, tonight, seemed to resonate with the locals a little bit louder than the rest.”
Noel credited his passionate pursuit of a central medical hub and additional housing opportunities as key campaign issues that resonated with voters.
“Everybody just loved the fact that I was addressing the secondary suites, detached dwellings, head-on; acknowledging the fact that it needs to be allowed to allow people opportunities for their existing properties,” he said.
He added voters also appreciated his direct and honest approach.
“I just answered the questions the way they came up. I wasn’t sugarcoating things,” he said.
Noel will now look to lead a four-person council with three rookie councillors as Marilyn McEwen was the only incumbent councillor to run for re-election.
Ucluelet’s four council seats will be filled by Lara Kemps, 527 votes, Rachelle Cole, 452 votes, Marilyn McEwen, 403 votes, and Jennifer Hoar, 330 votes.
Noel said his first priority will be getting the new councillors caught up on the community’s current issues.
“I just love the four of them,” Noel said. “They’re great…We’ll be able to get up to speed quite quickly.”
He added he hopes to organize a meeting between the past mayor and council and his recently elected team, “to be able to pass the baton on and have some lessons learned.”
Marilyn McEwen told the Westerly that she was “very enthusiastic and very grateful,” to retain her seat and is excited to work with the new council.
“I think it’s an awesome team,” she said. “I’m sure they will devote a lot of time to getting up to speed. It is a steep learning curve.
She added that she was “very happy” see Noel get elected.
“He and I worked very well together this past four years, so I’m really excited to have him at the helm and to continue to work with him.”
Jennifer Hoar said she was “honoured, grateful and thrilled,” to be voted in by the community and added that she believes Ucluelet selected an energetic and dynamic council.
“I love the people that have been elected…I look forward to the energy,” she said. “We’re all doers on that council now…I think it’s going to be a really cohesive, hard-working, team.”
Rachelle Cole said she went around the community on Sunday speaking with her supporters to share in the celebration.
“There are no words, except, ‘Wow…I honestly am feeling the love,” she said. “I couldn’t feel more comfortable in knowing that I can move forward and be an advocate for the community…This is what I’m supposed to be doing right now.”
She added she believes Ucluelet elected a strong team and that positive changes are on the horizon in the next four years.
“We’re strong individuals. We have strong voices and we are all super committed,” she said. “We’re all bringing something different to the table, but yet coming to the table to be this super diverse team of competent, well-intending, humans…It couldn’t be any better. I spent the whole day smiling thinking about how I’m living the dream. I’m blessed. This is great.”
Lara Kemps said she is excited for her first term on council and said the candidates who ran in the election brought valuable conversations to the community’s forefront.
“I was humbled by all the support that I received…I want to thank all the candidates that ran. They made it a very passionate and exciting election,” she said adding she enjoyed the campaign trail. “It was great to get out and talk with people and get their take on things.”
She said she was “overjoyed” to see Noel earn the mayor’s seat.
“We get along well. We’ve grown up together and I’m just very excited to work together as a team with him,” she said adding she was thrilled to see the community vote in four female councillors.
“I think that’s great. Women get stuff done. I’m very excited for the next four years.”
Kemps also works for the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, but said the two roles would not get in the way of each other.
“I think it’s a very good marriage,” she said. “Those things go hand in hand, actually. I’m very excited to work both of them.”
Ucluelet cast 796 ballots out of an estimated 1,276 eligible voters in 2018. In 2014’s municipal election, 606 Ucluetian ballots were cast from 1,203 eligible voters.
READ MORE: ELECTION DAY: Full election results from Tofino, Ucluelet and Area C