Phil Germuth

Kitimat’s next mayor sees relationship with Haisla crucial for next term

Phil Germuth sees a lot of issues to work on in Kitimat's future, but topping them is relationship building with the Haisla.

Phil Germuth has graduated from Kitimat Councillor to Kitimat Mayor.

With the unofficial results for the local election in, Germuth took the title in a seeming landslide with 1,828 votes. Candidate Trish Parsons ended in second place with 530 votes, while long-serving Kitimat politician Joanne Monaghan ended with 447.

Joining Germuth on the council will be incumbents Edwin Empinado, Mario Feldhoff, Rob Goffinet and Mary Murphy, as well as new faces Claire Rattée and Larry Walker.

Germuth sat in the District of Kitimat conference room to hear the results coming in directly from the ballot counters, and worked through the butterflies when he realized he took had taken position.

“[I’m] definitely humbled by the amount of the votes,” he said.

Versus his total in the 2011 election for council, Germuth gained 534 votes in his race to the mayor’s seat.

“It was great to see the support…the people came out in large numbers to vote this time and that’s great. I’m thrilled.”

He’s looking ahead to a number of issues, the one paramount to others is the relationship the District of Kitimat has with the Haisla Nation Council.

“The relationship building has got to be our number one thing. We really need to build our relationship with the Haisla and start working together on all initiatives here for industry and for recreation and all the other things,” he said.

Germuth says he believes its his record on council for three years that earned him the win tonight.

“I’m hoping most people voted for me because they looked at what I did the past three years on council and they supported the way I’ve stuck up for the people, and I also support development.”

Meanwhile Germuth said him having a business doesn’t mean his role as mayor will be impacted.

“The only reason I was able to ever run for council is because of my son Trevor. He runs the business for me and allows me to go out of town and do everything I need to do as council, and no doubt he’ll do the same,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have him there or otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. There’s no doubt.”

Germuth didn’t ignore the dedication which Monaghan has given to the community in her over three decades of being on council.

“I would like to definitely give a thanks to Joanne Monaghan for her 30-plus years of dedicated service. So many good things have come to this community because of her time on council and her time as mayor. Joanne really deserves a big ‘thank you’ from the community of Kitimat.”

Monaghan, who was first sworn in on Kitimat Council in 1980, hasn’t figured out what her next steps will be but is looking forward to future growth in Kitimat.

“I wish everybody luck and…I hope Kitimat keeps progressing and everything goes well,” she said.

But she already sees a change of pace in her future.

“After working 24/7, practically, for many years, especially the last six years of being mayor, I’m going to have all kinds of time,” she said.

Trish Parsons meanwhile was happy with how her campaign went.

“All in all it was a good learning experience and I enjoyed it,” she said, saying she has no immediate plans to take another run in four years.

“Right now, there’s a lot of things coming this way and we need to get things moving and start making some decisions and be a little more proactive,” she said.

For school board trustees, Margaret Warcup took the most votes with 1,945, and will join incumbent Raymond Raj on the two Kitimat seats. Tim Carter ended very close with 1,249 votes.