British Columbia

Burnaby mayor-elect Mike Hurley on housing, demovictions and working with council

While Mike Hurley will be the city’s next mayor, he faces a council dominated by Derek Corrigan's party — the Burnaby Citizens Association.

Independent wants to see affordable housing options prepared for Metrotown-area residents

Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley smiles at someone off-camera. There are people smiling in the background.
Burnaby's next mayor, Mike Hurley, may face challenges working with a council dominated by his rival's party. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

For 31 years, Derek Corrigan has been on Burnaby city council, including 16 as mayor.

But this weekend, the veteran municipal politician fell to newcomer Mike Hurley, a former firefighter and an independent.

While Hurley will be the city's next mayor, he faces a council dominated by Corrigan's party — the Burnaby Citizens Association.

After his election victory on Saturday, Hurley joined The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn to discuss how he will make his priorities a reality with what could be a hostile council.

What do you think played the biggest role in your win over Corrigan?

We ran a very steady and solid campaign with a huge ground game. Over 400 volunteers. We probably knocked on probably 25,000 doors. So we had a really good feel about what was going on out there, and I think we were able to tap into what we were hearing at the doors.

People were growing tired of Derek's argumentative ways of always seeming to say no to just about everything. And, you know, when you've been around politics too long you make some enemies along the way. And Derek did some great things, in fairness, over the years. But I think there was just a big mood for change.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has been defeated after 16 years leading the city.

What will you do in your first days of office to take action on demovictions?

I would really like to revisit the Metrotown plan. What should have been front and centre was how we were going to deal with the people who actually live in the area instead of just saying, you've got two months, four months to leave and then see you later.

We need to find a way to accommodate them first before we move forward with any more major developments.

I have a task force of experts we're going to put together, of experts, that hopefully we can put together with the agreement of council and come back with the right solutions. Perhaps some of those solutions are to keep some of those buildings in place.

Residents of affordable but aging Burnaby rental housing have faced demovictions over recent years. As their homes have been torn down for newer and more expensive housing, some of them have turned to protesting. (Simon Charland/CBC)

You want a moratorium on development that is not yet approved in Metrotown until the city can find similarly priced rental housing for the residents that already live there. How realistic is this?

I think there's good opportunities now to partner with the provincial and federal governments. We do have some money set aside for housing fund, so we need to tap into those.

We need to take a real look at the extra land Burnaby has to see if we can tap into some of that, for example, for co-op-type housing or co-housing.

So there are other options we can use to allow people to stay in Burnaby and tell our families to start out their lives in Burnaby and that's an important piece moving forward.

Derek Corrigan's party, the Burnaby Citizens Association, holds seven of the eight seats on council. How will you work with them to get any of this done?

I've worked with most of the people on council for some time and I consider many of them to be personal friends. I'm very confident, that while there might be some hurt feelings to start off with initially, that I can work very well.

They're all good people and they want to do the right things for the people of Burnaby. We can move forward in the same direction.

This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity. To listen to the full interview, list to the audio here:

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition