The Snuneymuxw First Nation will have a new chief after a close election on Saturday that resulted in a victory by 13 votes, according to an official ballot count.
John Wesley, who previously served two terms as chief, will return as the First Nation's leader in February, replacing Doug White as chief.
An official document from the electoral officer revealed a total of 499 ballots were cast by Snuneymuxw band members, with 253 for Wesley and 240 for White. Six ballots were rejected.
White said in a statement that while he is disappointed, he is happy for all those elected and proud of what he and council accomplished during his term.
"I look forward to seeing those (accomplishments) built on as our nation moves forward," he said.
"Tens of millions of dollars in new economic opportunities are now possessed by our nation through our reconciliation agreement and other achievements over the last four years."
Wesley was not available for comment on Sunday.
Five councillors were also elected: James Seward, Michael Wyse, Paul Wyse-Seward, Bill Yoachim and Erralyn Thomas. Only Thomas is new to council.
Thomas, 27, will be the youngest council member. She brings a background in law and First Nations politics and is the current female youth representative for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.
Thomas said she is excited to be part of Snuneymuxw council and hopes to use her background to help the community.
"My focus is to be a public service for our people, ensuring our nation is protected and participates in the Canadian economy, but also in our own backyards, in our own community," she said. "Sometimes we see an imbalance between the two."
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