Kristine Marshall is North Saanich’s newest elected councillor.
Marshall handily won the byelection on Saturday with 1,210 votes. The runner up, Ryan Lay, a lawyer who said he wanted to increase affordable housing in the municipality, received 471 votes. Raymon Farmere received 50 votes.
A total of 1,731 votes were cast, about 16 per cent of eligible voters.
Reached by phone shortly after the results on Saturday night, Marshall thanked her supporters and the community, as well as her fellow candidates.
“It’s difficult to put yourself out there and I appreciate that,” she said.
Marshall said she is looking forward to being part of the team. “I’m excited to being work and to start working in a positive way.”
Marshall, an employee of the Victoria Police Department, comes to council with the endorsement of groups such as Save North Saanich and North Saanich Community Voices.
Save North Saanich, an advocacy group that says it wants to keep the district rural, endorsed five of seven people who were elected to council last October, including North Saanich Mayor Peter Jones.
On Saturday night, Marshall did not disclose her priorities for council and declined to comment on previous council events.
She has previously said that she is open to affordable housing that will fit with the district’s rural character and green spaces and is a proponent of meaningful public engagement.
The North Saanich byelection came as a result of the resignation council member Brett Smyth in March, following clashes with Jones that culminated in Smyth referring to the mayor as “Mr. Hitler” in a council meeting.
Council has been divided over the direction of the community’s Official Community Plan, a process which has already seen one Vancouver-based consultant terminate its $400,000 contract.
A number of staff working on the OCP have left the district since the new council was elected in October.
According to census data, the largely rural municipality experienced an 8.8 per cent population increase in between 2016 and 2021, when the count reached 12,235.
North Saanich is on the list of 47 municipalities that the B.C. government is expected to set housing targets for.