PENTICTON – At 43 years old, Andrew Jakubeit chuckled at being associated with a youth movement on Penticton city council.
Still, Jakubeit was elected as Penticton’s new mayor Saturday, defeating council veteran John Vassilaki by more than 2,000 votes.
The final tally saw Jakubeit garner 5,126 votes compared to 3,012 for Vassilaki. Third candidate Jukka Laurio was far back with 169 votes. Incumbent Mayor Garry Litke, who won a 2013 byelection, did not seek re-election.
For the six councillor positions, rookie candidate Max Picton topped the polls, followed by Campbell Watt, incumbent Helena Konanz, Andre Martin, incumbent Judy Sentes and Tarik Sayeed. Katie Robinson was the lone incumbent councillor not re-elected, coming in eighth among 25 candidates.
Jakubeit said even with four new faces on council, he feels there is still strong support for the two major projects council currently has on its plate – downtown revitalization and a revamped Skaha marina area.
Jakubeit said he’s confident downtown revitalization will still move forward, noting those newly elected to council all voiced support for the proposed Phase 1 upgrade of much of the 100 and 200 blocks of Main Street.
“There’s still three incumbents and I think a lot of us talked about our economic vibrancy and some of the other things to really bring Penticton forward,” he said. “I think it will be a matter of council getting together and standing behind what we all platformed on – instead of saying words, actually putting these things into action.
“I think this council wants to see positive things happen for our community, so I think it’s going to be exciting.”
For Vassilaki, his mayoral loss brings an end to his 12 years on council.
Vassilaki said he never had any second thoughts about whether he should have run again for councillor.
“I don’t think I could have done much more as a councillor, but I could have done a lot more as mayor,” he said. “Unfortunately, the citizens chose to go the other route and that’s fine.”
Picton said it was “unbelievable” to top the polls for councillor in his first election bid.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Picton. “I was hoping maybe top six.”
Picton said he is pleased with the new council, noting the solid voter turnout provided an accurate reflection of what Penticton wants for its future.
“I see a lot of experience and I see a lot of youthful energy,” said Picton. “It’s an exciting time for the city and I’m looking forward to going to work.”
Konanz, one of two incumbents re-elected, acknowledged there was a push for change.
"I'm in shock again but I am so happy to start another four years here," she said. "There were a lot of good candidates. I would have loved to have worked with John Vassilaki but I am so excited to work with Andrew Jakubeit and I think it's going to be a really good new council."
Sentes, who once finished as high as second in the polls in 2008, said she didn't know what to expect this time around.
"I'm really very honoured," she said. "This was an interesting time. People said they wanted a change and I campaigned on a platform of being a balance with new faces and I'm truly honoured."
For the four Penticton trustees on the Okanagan Skaha school board, former Pen-High principal Bill Bidlake topped the polls, followed by current board chairman Bruce Johnson, Barb Sheppard and incumbent Shelley Clarke.
Final (unofficial numbers)
Andre Jakubeit 5,126
John Vassilaki 3,012
Jukka Laurio 169
Max Picton 4,251
Campbell Watt 3,925
Helena Konanz 3,262
Andre Martin 3,090
Judy Sentes 2,890
Tarik Sayeed 2,786
Ryan Foster 2,090
Katie Robinson 1,944
Garry Gratton 1,942
Tim Hodgkinson 1,592
Lynn Kelsey 1,397
Doug Maxwell 1,350
Steve Boultbee 1,268
Kevin Noonan 1,163
Jenine Nicholas 1,143
Patrick Buchanan 1,137
David Korinetz 939
Brian Horejsi 900
Vic Powell 868
Debra Slater 642
Brent Madsen 511
Brian Henningson 473
Paula Catani 393
Daryl Sanders 356
Don Dumesnil 280
School board (four)
Bill Bidlake 4,224
Bruce Johnson 4,072
Barb Sheppard 3,870
Shelley Clarke 3,381
Keith MacIntyre 2,497
Teresa Hebert 2,370