A vote-rich region with 14 seats up for grabs, Vancouver Island has been the site of a spirited three way dogfight between the major parties. NDP leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver’s ridings are also both on the Island.
Adam Olsen, the party’s deputy leader beat out NDP incumbent Gary Holman and the BC Liberals’ Stephen Roberts in a three-way rematch of the 2013 election in Saanich North and the Islands.
In that election, fewer than 400 votes separated the first and third place finishers, and the race was seen as the tightest three-way contest in the province once again.
Olsen is a former Central Saanich municipal Councillor and a First Nations housing consultant and member of the Tsartlip First Nation.
Holman, an economist, was the NDP critic on Democratic Reform and BC Ferries. Stephens is a former investment banker.
READ MORE: BC Greens break through, capture three seats
Meanwhile, in the Cowichan Valley, the Greens’ momentous breakthrough continued with the party expanding its base and electing Sonia Furstenau by about 2,000 votes.
Furstenau, a Regional District Director became a popular local figure in her successful fight against the contaminated soil dump at Shawnigan Lake, and looks to have harnessed that connection with the community.
The seat was vacated by two-term NDP incumbent Bill Routley, leaving it open for one of the tighter three-way races in B.C.
Furstenau defeats the NDP’s Lori Iannidinardo, a former Cowichan Bay director for the Cowichan Valley Regional District and administrator for Cowichan Community Kitchens initiative, and former CBC journalist and investment banker Steve Housser in his second bid for the seat with the Liberals.
BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has also retained his seat in Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
Weaver had said ahead of time if the Greens failed to gain in seats he would retire, but looks now to be ready to stay on.
NDP takes Courtenay-Comox
Three-term Courtenay City Councillor Ronna-Rae Leonard has captured the seat for the party, despite the 2015 redistricting which shaved off NDP strongholds in Cumberland, Denman and Hornby Islands.
Liberal incumbent Don McCrae, who took the riding in its former form as Comox in 2013 by about 10 per cent wasn’t running again.
In his place, Leonard faced a star candidate in recently-retired 19-Wing commander with three decades in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Greens had put up Ernie Sellentin, a former logger and green entrepreneur who runs a company specializing in habitat restoration and invasive species consulting.
Full region results: