British Columbia

2 decades later, former West Vancouver mayor Mark Sager wants his old job back

West Vancouver's mayoral race has been shaken up by an old face.

Announcement comes on the same day Mayor Michael Smith confirms he won't seek re-election

Mark Sager previously served as mayor of West Vancouver from 1990 to 1996, when he was in his thirties. (Facebook)

West Vancouver's mayoral race has been shaken up by an old face. 

Mark Sager, who led the district from 1990 to 1996, has filed his nomination papers for the Oct. 20 election, saying he wants to re-enter public life after spending two decades raising his daughter and running a law firm. 

"I just feel it's time to give back to the community I love so dearly," he said. 

"I enjoyed my last go around and felt I did a reasonable job and think I could do an even better job today."

While mayor of West Vancouver in his 30s, Sager served as vice-chair of the Metro Vancouver regional board and believes his tenure will help him navigate the transportation and affordability questions crucial to North Shore voters.

"We must deal with the issue of affordable housing. We can't have a community where everyone that works here has to commute in hours from other places. It's not healthy," he said.

"There's lots of challenges that the new council will face, and I'm hoping that my previous experience and a genuine love of working with people might help."

Sager will face two current councillors (Christine Cassidy and Mary-Ann Booth) who have been campaigning for months, along with Nolan Strong. 

Smith out

Not running is current Mayor Michael Smith, who confirmed Wednesday that he would be retiring after seven years in the job. 

"I'm really not a politician. I'm a fish out of water," said Smith, who ran both times for mayor unopposed and signed Sager's nomination papers. 

"I've spent all of my career in business, most of the time running my own business where I was able to make decisions, but here, the mayor has one vote and there are six councillors, so it can be frustrating."

Smith said his biggest accomplishment was putting West Vancouver in better financial shape — the city has a $23 million surplus — and hopes whomever replaces him builds on that. 

"Hopefully they'll find the ship in a reasonable steady state and can face a lot of the challenges ahead, particularly building more housing options."

Smith was the last of Metro Vancouver's 21 mayors to make a formal announcement on whether to seek re-election and became the 13th to step away from the job, joining leaders in Vancouver, Surrey, Maple Ridge, Delta, Port Coquitlam and the City and District of North Vancouver, White Rock, Langley City, Lions Bay, Belcarra and Bowen Island. 

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