Name recognition didn't count for much in the Coquitlam byelection on Saturday.
Two former councillors with more than a decade's worth of combined experience were trumped by a pair of political rookies, as Chris Wilson and Bonita Zarrillo finished in first and second place, respectively.
Wilson cruised to victory after taking 26 per cent of the vote (3,826 votes), while Zarrillo's second-place finish saw her garner 18 per cent of the vote (2,648).
Former incumbents Doug Macdonell and Barrie Lynch finished in third and fourth with 14.33 per cent of the vote, and 11.96 per cent, respectively.
"I heard on the doorstep over and over again that people wanted some fresh ideas and that they wanted some movement on council," said Zarrillo, a 47-year-old analyst by trade.
Wilson, on the other hand, claimed victory on his second attempt at political office, after he ran unsuccessfully for an MLA seat in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain in the May provincial election.
"That experience was so invaluable," said Wilson, who serves as the executive director of KidSport Tri-Cities. "I learned so much - how to talk to people on the doorstep, how to understand what their concerns are. I was able to develop a really solid network of volunteers and I understood how to develop a campaign strategy. It was a huge learning experience."
As for the other candidates, Terri Towner finished fifth (with 9.99 per cent of the vote), followed by Vincent Wu (4.78 per cent), Ben Craig (4.69 per cent), Ben Kim (3.99 per cent), Michael Bell (3.02 per cent), Kurt Zaporozan (1.76 per cent) and Kevin Startin (1.5 per cent).
Although both councillorelects are already attending meetings, they can't vote on items until they are sworn in on Nov. 18.
"We want them up to speed to the extent it's possible," Mayor Richard Stewart said Tuesday. "This is a $250-million operation. It's got complexities that I don't expect anyone to grasp fully in their first year in any case, but I think these two can get up to speed."
Saturday's voter turnout totals eclipsed the numbers seen in the city's two most recent byelections. About 9.2 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots on Saturday, or 8,036 residents. The 2010 byelection saw 7.6 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, while only 5.1 per cent did so in the 2007 byelection.
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