British Columbia

Bowen Island Mayor Murray Skeels won't seek re-election

Murray Skeels has decided one term as Bowen Island's mayor is enough.

His announcement guarantees a majority of Metro Vancouver mayors will be replaced in October

Bowen Island, accessible to the Lower Mainland from the BC Ferries terminal at Snug Cove, is the westernmost of Metro Vancouver's 21 municipalities. (Bridgette Watson/CBC)

Murray Skeels has decided one term as Bowen Island's mayor is enough.

"I actually was retired, and then decided to run for mayor. I've done it for four years, don't see any reason to keep on doing it. I could become an old man before I know it," Skeels said. 

He becomes the 11th mayor in Metro Vancouver choosing not to seek re-election in October, joining the leaders of Vancouver, Surrey, the District and City of North Vancouver, the City of Langley, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Delta, White Rock and Belcarra. 

Skeels said he made the decision recently. 

"I don't like going through the campaigning part of it. I'm not just that kind of glad-handing guy. And the amount of abuse you take is a bit over the top sometimes," he said. 

"A mayor is kind of a reflection of the mood of the community. And there's other people that can do just a fine job of that, I think."

Development debates

Skeels said he was most proud of how the community opposed provincial government plans that could have resulted in nearly a third of Bowen's area being available for logging.

"The community really rose up in unison. United in a way that this community has never been united before.

"I think we were effective in moving it off the agenda ... for now," he said.

However, Skeels predicted whomever succeeds him will confront the same issue that bedevils mayors across the region: the pace of growth and housing affordability.

"We're expecting a couple of big rezoning applications to come in," he said.

"Two large chunks of land, where developers want to get higher density. That's going to bring to light any divisions in the community about the amount of development."

Those debates will be overseen by someone other than Skeels, who said he has plans to travel  — among other things — in retirement.

"I will not miss reading 150-page reports on things," he said with a laugh. 

"It was part of the job I hadn't properly anticipated." 

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