GABY WICKSTROM PHOTO                                Gaby Wickstrom earned 598 votes, defeating incumbent Mayor Shirley Ackland and former Councillor Graham Macdonald in Port McNeill’s mayoral race.

GABY WICKSTROM PHOTO Gaby Wickstrom earned 598 votes, defeating incumbent Mayor Shirley Ackland and former Councillor Graham Macdonald in Port McNeill’s mayoral race.

Gaby Wickstrom talks being new mayor of Port McNeill

“To me it shows that people are ready for a fresh vision for a vibrant community.”

Gaby Wickstrom is the new mayor of Port McNeill after earning 598 votes, nearly doubling incumbent Mayor Shirley Ackland, and also beating former Councillor Graham MacDonald by over 400 votes.

In a brief interview on Sunday morning, Wickstrom laughed that the wait for the votes to finally be counted was ”the most nerve wracking thing ever.”

She noted she had a bunch of supporters, friends and family, waiting with her for her scrutineer, Alan Jackman, to arrive with the news.

Once she found out she was the new mayor of Port McNeill, she said she felt “elated for the community. To me it shows that people are ready for a fresh vision for a vibrant community.”

Port McNeill had quite the high voter turnout, with an estimated 1,736 residents being able to vote and 1,083 votes actually being cast.

Wickstrom thinks the turnout will most likely be a province high, and attributes that to “apathy not being a choice for the residents.”

As for projects around town she is excited to get started on, she noted that “For me, I’m probably going to want to take a look at the old school and finally make a decision on it, and also look at a community gathering space down at the waterfront. But on a short term, just activating the committees that have sat dormant.”

Wickstrom concluded by thanking Ackland for her 10 years of service to the town, while also thanking her supporters “for the tremendous support and belief in me. I’m going to work very hard with all of council to move our community forward.”

Port McNeill elected four councillors: Ann-Marie Baron, Shelley Downey, Ryan Mitchell, and Derek Koel.

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