Carin Bondar announced Nov. 26 that she will be running in the upcoming byelection to replace outgoing school trustee Dan Coulter. She won the Feb. 13, 2021 byelection. (Sarah Sovereign Photography)

More than 10,000 turn out to vote in Chilliwack school board byelection

Tight race broken by successful run at mail-in ballot option offered due to pandemic

Chilliwack has chosen a new school board trustee, in a contentious byelection that wrapped up Feb. 13.

Carin Bondar will join the board beginning at the next meeting, set for Feb. 23.

Voter turnout was well over what it’s been in the past for school board byelections in Chilliwack. In total, 10,710 people cast a ballot and majority of those votes went to Bondar and Richard Procee, with 5,455 and 4,786, respectively.

Brian VanGarderen earned 287 votes, and Adam Suleman earned 182 votes.

In the past two school board byelections in Chilliwack, voter turnout was around 2,000 people.

The results are currently considered preliminary, and are broken down between voting places and styles by the City of Chilliwack. There were three advanced polling days and a mail-in ballot option.

The counting was completed within about an hour of polls closing at 8 p.m. and showed just how close the race was between Bondar and Procee.

Procee did well in the advanced poll, with 2,035 votes cast those days. Bondar came a close second with 1,825.

At the polling stations on Feb. 13, Bondar and Procee were neck and neck for support. They each earned just over 1,000 votes at the Landing Sports Centre, and just under 100 points apart at Heritage Park.

However, Bondar pulled ahead with the mail-in ballots. Just over 1,000 people mailed in support for Bondar, while only 303 of Procee’s supporters chose that option.

Procee sent out a thank you to his supporters, and a public congratulations to Bondar, on his Facebook campaign page.

“A big thank-you to all of Chilliwack for the tremendous voter turnout,” he said. “I would like to thank Carin Bondar, Adam Suleman and Brian VanGarderen for putting your name forward. Our democratic process is enhanced and strengthened by your courage to stand and place yourself under the scrutiny of public opinion.”

“Congratulations to Carin and I trust you will serve our community well,” he said.

“Finally, thank-you to my team and supporters. My thanks cannot be conveyed by the written word. I am silenced by your dedication and hard work as it is above the call of duty. For this I am humbled.”

Bondar also addressed her supporters after the results were posted.

The byelection was held to replace the seat vacated when Dan Coulter was elected as Chilliwack MLA in the fall of 2020.

READ MORE:Carin Bondar wins contentious Chilliwack school board byelection Saturday


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