Coquitlam Firefighters
Wilson, Zarrillo win Coquitlam council byelection
Updated On: Jan 15, 2014

Two union-endorsed candidates with little municipal government experience edged out two former incumbents for Coquitlam city council seats Saturday.

The byelection results came in just before 9 p.m., with former Olympic wrestler Chris Wilson, the executive director of Tri-Cities' KidSport, and businesswoman Bonita Zarrillo winning all 13 polls.

Wilson earned 3,826 votes (25.99% of votes cast) while Zarrillo collected 2,648 votes (17.99%).

They were followed by former city councillors Doug Macdonell at 2,109 (14.33%) and Barrie Lynch at 1,760 (11.96%).

Taking the remainder of the votes, in order, were: Teri Towner, Vincent Wu, Ben Craig, Ben B.H. Kim (a Port Moody resident), Michael Bell, Kurt Zaporozan and Kevin Startin.

Speaking from an election wrap party at Original Joe's restaurant, Wilson attributed his success to his campaign volunteers — and to knocking on 4,000 doors.

"I fought so hard," he said, "and I'm just so thankful for all the hard work that everybody did."

As for his next steps, Wilson said of his council duties, "I've got lots to learn and to catch up on."

Added Zarrillo, "I feel like the campaign went very well. There was a lot of door knocking and I got to talk to a lot of people. Now, I'll be working for the citizens of Coquitlam who told me about their concerns and thoughts about the city."

According to the city's byelection website, 8,036 out of 87,064 of eligible voters cast ballots — and that 9.23% turnout was a record for Coquitlam byelections. By comparison, in the 2010 byelection to replace Fin Donnelly, the city recorded a 7.5% voter turnout (in a vote that included referendum questions on the ballot) and in a 2007 council byelection, just 4.9% of eligible voters filled out a ballot. General civic elections have in recent years drawn about 20% voter turnout.

This year's byelection was prompted by the election of former councillors Linda Reimer and Selina Robinson as MLAs in May's provincial election.

The cost of this byelection isn't yet known but the 2010 byelection cost Coquitlam taxpayers $142,000.

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