British Columbia

Christine Cassidy makes West Vancouver mayoral race a competition for first time in a decade

The councillor, who joins Mary-Ann Booth on ballot, says she doesn't believe in the word "crisis" and doesn't want the municipality to overbuild.

Councillor, who joins Mary-Ann Booth on ballot, says she doesn't want municipality to overbuild

Christine Cassidy has become the second West Vancouver councillor to announce a run for mayor of the municipality. (District of West Vancouver )

For the first time in a decade, West Vancouver has competition in its mayoral race. 

Coun. Christine Cassidy has announced she will run for mayor of the municipality, joining fellow councillor Mary-Ann Booth on the ballot. 

"I think the voters of West Vancouver need a definitive choice between two very different points of view as to how we diversify and grow," said Cassidy, who worked in the financial industry as an investment advisor before being elected in 2014. 

Current mayor Michael Smith — who ran unopposed in 2011 and 2014 — has not said whether he will run again. 

Booth has pointed out how she voted with Smith more than any other councillor over the past four years. 

Mary-Ann Booth is a two-term West Vancouver councillor who is also running for mayor.

Cassidy said there's plenty of times she's disagreed with Smith, often around questions of development. 

"The quality of life is the No. 1 issue at stake as we progress with diversity of housing, and as we grow by populace," she said. 

"It's our quality of life, that West Vancouver fears we will be losing as we develop."

Declining population

The population of West Vancouver declined between the census counts of 2011 and 2016, and council recently passed a new official community plan that forecasts 5,000 new housing units, mostly in higher density areas in town centres.

Booth has expressed general favour for the plan — "there are things that we definitely have to roll up our sleeves and get down to business and move things along," she said — but Cassidy said the growth needs to done extremely carefully. 

"I am an individual who does not believe in the word 'crisis.' I think it's an emotional word, that people use to get people to overreact to a situation," she said. 

"I think we do have an issue ... with the cost of housing, but I do not want us to overreact and build to an extent that we ruin the essence of what we are, which is a beautiful bedroom community," she said. 

Cassidy also said an arts centre should be rebuilt at the site of the Klee Wyck Art Centre instead of on the waterfront, and that a bistro should only be built on the waterfront if it replaces an existing concession stand. 

"We need to be very sensitive to the fact that it's our natural beauty and our scenery which is the main attraction in West Vancouver," she said. 

"I see West Van very much along the lines of a Sausalito, a Carmel, a La Jolla​. And I fear that as we are progressing with our local area plans, that it may not be taken into consideration."

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