British Columbia

One year from municipal elections, many longtime mayors still deciding futures

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is among those planning to run next year, but others don't want to commit just yet.

We asked 24 mayors in the Lower Mainland whether they would seek re-election. Here's what they said.

Which Lower Mainland mayors will seek re-election? Left, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is undecided. Gregor Robertson, centre, says he will run. And right, Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, says she won't run. (CBC)

With municipal elections exactly one year away, many long-standing mayors in the Lower Mainland are holding off declaring whether they'll seek another four years in office.

"I will do what I think is best for the community after consulting with constituents at length during the winter months," said District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton, in power since 2005.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore also hestitated.

"I am undecided, plus I am about to go on holidays so maybe life will be more clear when I return," said Moore, mayor since 2005. 

"Why I am undecided? How about 40 years in office already," said Ralph Drew, who has been involved in Belcarra's municipal politics since it became a municipality, and has been mayor since 1983.

We asked all 21 mayors in Metro Vancouver about their intentions for next year — along with the leaders of Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission.

A majority didn't know whether they were running or not (scroll to the bottom for the full list), though most said they would decide during the first half of next year. 

Robertson running again

But Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is making his intentions clear. He plans to run.

"I think there's a lot more to do in the years ahead," Robertson told reporters Saturday, a week after his party's disappointing result in a byelection

"The city's growing. There's a lot going on in Vancouver. We have a very cooperative B.C. government now and we're seeing huge investments coming now for transit, for housing, for homeless, some of the big goals that I've been working towards for nine years."

A victory by Robertson would be historic. He would eclipse Philip Owen as the only person to win four terms as mayor in the city's modern era, and would pass Louis D. Taylor as the city's longest-serving mayor during his term.   

Also running again are the leaders of Metro Vancouver's second and fourth biggest cities; Surrey's Linda Hepner and Richmond's Malcolm Brodie. 

3 years vs. 4

This is the first time local politicians in B.C. have four years instead of three between elections, after provincial legislation was passed prior to the 2014 elections.

"It has some really good benefits, because you have a good stretch of time to deliver changes for your community, instead of coming in, spending year one learning your new council, and then in year three you're already going into a new election," said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read. 

However, some mayors said that extra year was something they needed to consider when deciding if they wanted another term. 

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker said online harassment was another factor that would affect his decision.

"Social media wears on my spouse," Becker said.

"[People say] the kind of things that people would wash their children's mouths out with soap if it was said in the family living room." 

New mayors for Maple Ridge and (likely) Delta

The only mayor to officially declare she is not running so far is Read, who wants to spend more time advocating for her two young sons who have been diagnosed as being twice-exceptional — meaning they are both gifted and have learning disabilities.

"It's difficult to hold this role and fight for the needs of my children every day," she said.  

Lois Jackson, who has been mayor of Delta since 1999, said during the 2014 campaign this would be her last term. 

But while she said nothing has changed in the three years since, she didn't want to officially declare she was leaving municipal politics.

At least not yet. 

"Everybody's talking, but it's such a long ways away. Once you start discussing these matters, this soon, it ramps up these notions. People that are seated in council can't focus," she said.

"I'm pretty sure [I'm leaving]. But I'm not going to start at this."

Planning to run: Gregor Robertson (Vancouver), Malcolm Brodie (Richmond), Linda Hepner (Surrey), Jonathan Coté (New Westminster), Mike Clay (Port Moody), Jack Froese (Langley Township), John McEwen (Anmore)

Leaning yes: Sharon Gaetz (Chilliwack)

Undecided: Derek Corrigan (Burnaby), Darrell Mussatto (North Vancouver City), Richard Walton (North Vancouver District), Henry Braun (Abbotsford), Richard Stewart (Coquitlam), Greg Moore (Port Coquitlam), Ted Schaffer (Langley City), Michael Smith (West Vancouver), John Becker (Pitt Meadows), Wayne Baldwin (White Rock), Randy Hawes (Mission), Murray Skeels (Bowen Island), Karl Buhr (Lions Bay), Ralph Drew (Belcarra)

Likely not running: Lois Jackson (Delta)

Not Running: Nicole Read (Maple Ridge)


Justin McElroy


Justin is the Municipal Affairs Reporter for CBC Vancouver, covering local political stories throughout British Columbia.