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Liberal Jordan Sturdy wins provincial seat for Sea to Sky

Pemberton's mayor ready for next challenge

Liberal Jordan Sturdy is the new MLA for Sea to Sky-West Vancouver.

With 97 of 118 polls reporting in as this update goes to press Sturdy has 8094 votes. NDP Ana Santos, who was out front early on, has 5761. Green candidate Richard Warrington took 1898 and Conservative Ian McLeod has 487.

The Liberals surprised most by coming from behind to win a majority government in B.C. with 50 seats. The NDP have 33 while the Green Party won its first seat.

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky is huge. It covers an odometer-crushing 9,868 sq. km, starting in Dundarave on the North Shore and ending near D'Arcy well into the interior; the contenders travelled great distances to meet some of the 37,021 voters who are registered with Elections BC for the May 14 poll.

The variety in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky is almost ridiculous. There is the privileged urban, found in wealthy West Vancouver (with 9,685 registered voters in 2013). There is Bowen Island, part of the Islands Trust (2,501 voters). There is small-town Squamish going through sometimes-painful struggles from forestry-based industry to Vancouver satellite to "Canada's Recreation Capital" (12,959 voters).

There is the world-class ski resort of Whistler (7,726 voters), which is at least as much an international hub for millions of visitors as it is a small town. There is Pemberton, a kind of agricultural Shangri-La in a remote organic valley (1,937 voters). And there are two strong and ever-strengthening First Nations — the Squamish and the Lil'wat — living in small reserve communities throughout the region. The Lil'wat Nation has 1,163 voters; the Squamish Nation numbers are folded in with the town that bears the same name. Lastly, there is Lions Bay overlooking the Sea to Sky Highway and Howe Sound (1,050 voters).

"Others have described the riding as a microcosm of the whole province, and I certainly agree. That's the most apt description," said outgoing MLA Joan McIntyre recently. "Huge diversity, to be candid, is one of the great benefits for me. The riding is so interesting, the issues are so widespread. The communities are all at different areas of development and different interests and goals. It's been hard work keeping up, but that said, very interesting."

More to come