A very low turnout during Merritt's by-election had a longtime municipal politician - and losing candidate - grousing about voter apathy on Sunday.
Former mayor Bob Baird was defeated with 205 votes to winning candidate Kurt Christopherson's 399 votes.
Only 893 ballots were cast by the time polls closed Saturday out of a possible 4,000 voters.
"By the looks of the outcome it's probably for the better," said Baird. "The apathy shown by the public is rather disturbing."
The by-election was held to replace outgoing councillor Norm Brigden after he accepted a job in Nanaimo.
Christopherson is a prominent member of the Merritt community who is well known for his volunteerism and as an elementary school teacher and principal for 30 years before retiring.
Christopherson is hoping to find ways to encourage more cultural and community events, like the Merritt Country Christmas, which he has chaired for many years as a member of the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council.
He said he's very familiar with the common complaint that Merritt residents are overtaxed - a platform on which Baird campaigned.
Infrastructure problems need to be addressed as well, said Christopherson, but some spending could perhaps be put off to lighten the burden.
But he intends to review what's been done in the past before suggesting concrete solutions.
"I just really hope that I can meet the expectations of the people who were kind enough to vote for me," he said.
Although Baird expressed his respect for Christopherson, he said he didn't believe the new councillor would do anything to change the municipal government, which he said is on a "tax and borrow and spend spree."
"I don't think that his agenda is going to change or influence the existing agenda of the incumbents."
Regarding the chance that he might run again, Baird said he'd "never close the door" on trying again but "maybe I've had my kick at the cat."