First-time councillor Mike Caljouw makes his pitch for voters at the Crofton all-candidates meeting. (Photo by Don Bodger)

First-time councillor Mike Caljouw makes his pitch for voters at the Crofton all-candidates meeting. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Topping the polls in North Cowichan councillor voting surprises Caljouw

Public service in newcomer’s blood from father’s legacy

Three incumbents and three newcomers make up the new slate of councillors for the Municipality of North Cowichan following Saturday night’s elections.

Newcomer Mike Caljouw Jr. topped the polls with 4,361 votes in his first attempt at a seat on council.

Related story: Mike Caljouw running for a council seat in North Cowichan

“Well, to say I was surprised at my placing in the election is an understatement,” conceded Caljouw. “I am so honoured that the citizens of North Cowichan supported me in this way. I will try to live up to their expectations.”

Caljouw’s father Mike Sr. served many years on council for the City of Duncan.

“My father’s legacy is a huge part of my running,” Caljouw indicated. “He instilled in me a belief in community service and that you can make a difference. I wear his ring, that was given to him by the citizens of Duncan for his 32 years of service, proudly and with honour and as a reminder to always do the right thing.”

Caljouw decided to focus on the basics during his campaign.

“I believe that my platform of getting the municipality back to its core responsibilities of roads, streets, sewers, parks and recreation is what appealed to the voters the most, along with the fact that I don’t vote on party lines,” he noted. “I will look at every issue before the council on its own merit.”

Caljouw is now anxious to get to work.

“Now that the craziness of the election is over, I think that we have a hard row to hoe,” he pointed out. “With the way inflation is out of control right now and it’s looking like the country may slide into a mild recession, it is going to be a challenge.”

Incumbents Tek Manhas (4,289), Debra Toporowski (3,903) and Christopher Justice (3,527) tallied the second through fourth highest number of votes and retained their places as councillors.

Bruce Findlay (3,343) and Chris Istace (3,142) were also voted onto council with the respective fifth and sixth highest totals.

With Rob Douglas and Rosalie Sawrie giving up their councillor positions to run for mayor, Kate Marsh was the only incumbent councillor who won’t be back on council. She finished seventh with 2,952 votes.

“I’m obviously delighted, but shocked at the results,” said Justice, who will be returning for his second term. “I’m at a loss for words, so deeply sorry to see Kate not make it, and Mike Caljouw probably set a record for non-incumbent votes.”

Justice indicated during the campaign his first term in office was a humbling experience at times and there was more to learn than he ever thought possible.

“It takes four years at least to learn this job,” he conceded. “It’ll be interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing how the new guys get imparted into it.”

The remainder of the field and their vote totals were: Elizabeth Croft (2,828), Peter W. Rusland (2,778), Joyce Behnsen (2,616), Charles Borg (1,789), Adrienne Richards (1,317), Chris Shaw (1,075), Joseph Enslow (1,009) and Dana Arthurs (876).


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Mike Caljouw was the top vote-getter among councillors. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Mike Caljouw was the top vote-getter among councillors. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Returning incumbent councillor Christopher Justice with mayor Rob Douglas. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Returning incumbent councillor Christopher Justice with mayor Rob Douglas. (Photo by Don Bodger)

A happy Christopher Justice with wife Patricia Seymour after the election results became known Saturday night. (Photo by Don Bodger)

A happy Christopher Justice with wife Patricia Seymour after the election results became known Saturday night. (Photo by Don Bodger)