In a close election on Saturday

Summerland: Waterman wins in close mayoral race

Peter Waterman was elected to the municipality’s top elected role, defeating his closest rival by just 77 votes.

In a close mayoral race, Peter Waterman was elected to the municipality’s top elected role, defeating his closest rival by just 77 votes.

Waterman, who had served as a councillor, was elected mayor with 1,197 votes out of the 4,428 ballots cast in the five-way mayoral race.

There are an estimated 8,600 eligible voters in Summerland.

Roch Fortin, the second-place finisher, garnered 1,120 votes. David Gregory, a former Summerland councillor and mayor, finished with 1,005 votes, while Orv Robson, a member of the current council, had 1,003.

Christopher Boisvert-Gilman was the fifth-place finisher with 103 votes.

Waterman has set out goals for the first 100 days of the new council.

He plans to introduce a motion to withdraw the application to remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The land exchange, approved by council earlier this year, is before the Agricultural Land Commission.

It calls for the removal of 80.34 hectares of land within the land reserve near the core of the community, while 91.7 hectares in the Prairie Valley area would be added to the land reserve.

At public hearings in spring, there was strong opposition to the proposed land exchange, including a petition signed by more than 1,200 Summerlanders.

Waterman said the election results show a strong public opposition to the growth plan.

Of the mayoral candidates, only Robson campaigned in support of the plan.

Close to three-quarters of voters selected a candidate opposed to the controversial land exchange, Waterman said.

In addition to rescinding the land exchange application, Waterman plans to organize a mayor’s task force on the local economy.

The mayor’s task force will require participation from all facets of the community, Waterman said.

“We will be discussing how we can work together to make things happen in Summerland,” he said.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here.”

Waterman was first elected to council in 2005 and served as a councillor until 2008.

In the 2008 election, he lost to Janice Perrino in a bid for the mayor’s position. He received 1,651 votes to her 2,183 votes.

He was elected as a councillor once again in 2011.