Former Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha thanked his supporters and said he hopes residents rally behind new councillor Tony Head, who defeated Botha 302-237 in Monday’s municipal election.
Botha was the only incumbent who lost his re-election bid on Monday. On Friday, Botha said he was disappointed in the results, but thankful for the opportunity to serve residents of Ward 3.
“I was disappointed at first, but I hope Tony does a good job,” he said during an interview Friday afternoon. “I don’t want him to fail, and I’d certainly like the residents who have supported me over the years to rally behind Tony.”
Botha said COVID-19 was a major factor on the campaign trail. Candidates didn’t have a lot of time to get their message out, he explained, and public health regulations limited the interaction they could have with residents. Regardless, he wished Head the best for the next four years.
“For the safety of many residents, I just did flier drops and I was on the phone and, obviously, on social media,” he explained. “But, the residents spoke, and I’ll go with the residents who decided that they believe Tony can do a better job. I really want Tony to succeed in this.”
Botha was occasionally the centre of controversy during his term on council, clashing frequently with Mayor Greg Dionne. Dionne eventually sued Botha, accusing the Ward 3 councillor of malice and of deliberately intending to cause embarrassment, according to court documents filed in December 2018.
He was also a familiar voice of dissent, along with Couns. Charlene Miller, Terra Lennox-Zepp and Dennis Nowoselsky. Miller and Lennox-Zepp are both back for another four years in Wards 1 and 2 respectively, and Botha wished them well. He said looked forward to hearing great things from all three of the City’s female councillors, a list that includes new Ward 7 Coun. Dawn Kilmer.
Botha said he sought to create a community spirit in Ward 3 during the last four years. He promoted an annual community cleanup, and started Christmas gift bag and Christmas Eve celebration campaigns. He believes those efforts paid off, and he’s proud of the result.
“When I look at the residents that I’ve had the honour to serve over the last four years, many of those have become part of a circle of friends and trusted confidants, and those relationships will continue,” he said. “We have a great community and I’d really just want to make sure that the momentum continues.”
Botha said he plans to ease back into the business world full-time, and still wants to be involved in the community. However, he’ll likely wait until the New Year before making any decisions.
“I’m really looking at 2021, because 2020 is done and dusted,” he said. “I’ll have to see what the future holds behind 2021. I think there’s still lots to do in the community, and I’m not going to go away. I certainly would like to see our residents continue to speak up for things that are important.”