Meet Your Mayor

 

Photo: kris krüg/ Flickr

Photo: kris krüg/ Flickr

 

Who are the people running my city? A Guidebook election recap.
 
As a newcomer in the Lower Mainland, it can be tough to keep up with the local political scene. Even if you’ve read all the news, depending on your citizenship status, British Columbia may not allow you to vote for the candidates that serve your interests.
 
That gets us wondering: who are the people that lead our chosen communities? Well, the results are in from British Columbia’s local election races in November. We’d like to dedicate this space to recapping the races in three major municipalities: Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster.
 

gregor

Gregor Robertson rides the bus. Photo via facebook


 
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson Wins Third Term Ballots at some polling stations ran out in a tight race between Robertson and his rival Kirk LaPointe.
 
By Sarah Berman
 
Voter turnout in Vancouver reached a decade-long high at 44 percent in 2014. Wait times were over an hour and some polling stations even ran out of ballots. Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe failed to turn dissatisfaction among voters into a win, as Gregor Robertson secured his third term as mayor of Vancouver.
Since 2008, Robertson has been the bike-riding, transit-taking mayor of Vancouver. He has been criticized for his close ties with high-end condominium developers, for an inflated yet ineffective communications staff, and for failing to meet affordable housing targets, but is otherwise effective at leading the centrist political party Vision Vancouver.
 
Robertson’s major election promises have included ending street homelessness by 2015 and becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. While the City seems to have fallen behind on these targets, Robertson remains well-liked by many Vancouverites (perhaps because of his infrequent appearances as a deejay).
 
Gregor Robertson also attracted votes for his stance on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. A recent stand-off between the company and protesters on Burnaby Mountain raised the issue during election season, alerting voters to the local risks. Many green-leaning voters who do not want to see increased tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet voted strategically for Robertson to avoid an NPA win, which would support the pipeline expansion.
 
However, many of Vision’s other members did not fare as well. Vision lost its majority in the Parks Board and School Trustee categories. Gregor vowed his team “can do better” in the years to come.
 


 

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan interviewed by local news.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan doing interview with the local news, at the STOP KINDER MORGAN protest rally, on Burnaby Mountain Park. Photo by Mark Klotz.

 

Mayor Derek Corrigan got three times more votes than his nearest competitor, though voter turnout was only 28 percent.
 
By Aurora Tejeida
 
Only 28 percent of Burnaby residents decided to hit the voting polls. But the city was pretty stoked about it, as evidenced by this Facebook post: “41,494 happy voters!”
 
Still, the happiest person in Burnaby—except for the 150,000 people that stayed home in their pyjamas instead of voting—was probably long-time Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan who got re-elected by a landslide.
 
Corrigan has lived in Burnaby since 1997, and he’s been mayor since 2002. It probably didn’t hurt that last March Corrigan said that if need be he would stand in front of a bulldozer to prevent the expansion of the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline.
 
“I’m prepared to fight this out to the bitter end. I’m incensed with how we’ve been treated,” he said to reporters, according to an article published by Global BC. The story goes on to say that the mayor was concerned about the proposed increase in holding tanks on Burnaby Mountain.
 
Unfortunately, Kinder Morgan was recently granted an injunction by a B.C. Supreme Court judge to remove protesters who had been camped out on Burnaby Mountain for a couple of months.
 
As for Burnaby’s School Board, again, there were no surprises there. The election resulted in one new person, but no new parties.
 
Burnaby Citizens Association was the big winner, keeping all of their seats. Katrina Chen was the only new person on the board. She was chosen to replace James Wang, who won a council seat.
 
Ron Burton was by far the most popular candidate for school district trustee. He was at the top with 24, 189 votes, ensuring him another four years on the board on top of the 27 he’s already served.
 
The city council elections were also dominated by veterans; out of the top three councillors with more votes, one (Pietro Calendino) has lived in Burnaby for 41 years and has been elected as School Trustee, MLA for Burnaby North and has served four terms as city councillor.
 
Another (Dan Johnston) was first elected as a councillor in 1993. Anne Kang is the only one that stands out among the top three; not just for being a woman, but because she is the only one that mentions newcomers and inclusivity in her candidate profile.
 


 

jonathan

The 35-year-old mayor of New West offers voters a ride to the polls. Photo via Jonathan X. Cote’s Facebook


 
British Columbia’s Youngest Mayor
 
Transportation dominated the race that elected New West Mayor Jonathan X. Cote.
 
By Aurora Tejeida
 
Things were a little more exciting in New West, where a city councillor named Jonathan X. Cote defeated four-term Mayor Wayne Wright.
 
Even though it was expected to be a bit close to call, Cote came out on top with over 2,500 more votes than Wright.
 
At 35, Cote will be the youngest mayor in the province by the time he takes office. Fun fact: the X stands for Xerxes, apparently his dad was a big Middle Eastern history buff.
 
He also thinks council seats are usually occupied by people who are “more on the senior side.”
 
“That’s an important representation to have on local government, but it’s also important that the voices of young families and other age groups are represented as well,” he said in an interview with The Vancouver Sun.
His biggest challenge will be transportation. Cote explained that New Westminster is in the middle of Metro Vancouver, which means more than 400,000 vehicles drive through the city each day.
 
“That was the thing that came up time and time again. Transportation is going to be my top priority once I get into the mayor’s office.”
It appears things might run smoothly for the young mayor. Those elected to council, were all backed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council, just like Cote.
 
Chuck Puchmayr and fellow incumbents Williams, Jaimie McEvoy, and Bill Harper all topped the council polls along with newcomers Patrick Johnstone and Mary Trentadue.
 
The school board will also have many familiar faces. All five incumbent trustees who were nominated for these elections were re-elected.
The big news in terms of New West’s school board was Kelly Slade-Kerr, a newcomer that dominated the polls and received the most votes.
She helped found a group called Parents For Public Education in New Westminster and it appears some of the board’s plans for the next four years will include building a new high school and getting the parents involved.