British Columbia

Vision Vancouver's Tim Stevenson not seeking re-election, cites need for new leadership

Another Vision Vancouver stalwart has announced he will not seek re-election in October. Councillor Tim Stevenson joins Mayor Gregor Robertson and councillor Andrea Reimer and says it's time for new leadership to take over the party.

Stevenson privately told party a year ago he won't run, joins Gregor Robertson and Andrea Reimer

Tim Stevenson served five terms as a Vancouver city councillor. Before that he was an MLA for five years in Victoria. He turns 73 in 2018. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Vancouver city councillor Tim Stevenson won't seek another term in the upcoming municipal election and says it's time for new leadership to take over Vision Vancouver.

"It's my time to go and let a new generation to come in," said the five-term councillor who has been working at city hall for the past 16 years.

Stevenson was a co-founding member of Vision Vancouver. He turns 73 in 2018 and his public announcement comes in the same week that Mayor Gregor Robertson said he would not seek a fourth term as mayor under the Vision banner.

In July, Geoff Meggs resigned to become John Horgan's chief of staff, and in the resulting byelection the Vision Vancouver candidate, Diego Cardona, finished fifth behind the NPA's Hector Bremner.

In October, councillor Andrea Reimer said she would not seek re-election in 2018.

Stevenson says voters should not take the decisions as a sign that Vision Vancouver is a spent force in the city.

He actually told the party privately in 2017 he would not run again, so that preparations could made for others to step forward.

"I'm not worried at all," he said about Vision's chances in the election on Saturday, Oct. 18.

"Vision has a very strong dynamic progressive party, lots of people are involved, lots of younger people and those of us that are stepping aside — I've been 16 years, Andrea's 10 years, Gregor's 10 years — you need to know when the due date is in politics."

On Monday, Vision Vancouver will hold its annual general meeting and elect new members to its executive.

Stevenson also says that changes to campaign finance rules, which ban corporate and union donations, are not something that will ultimately harm the party, since it campaigned for them.

Before becoming a councillor Stevenson served as an MLA for five years in Victoria as the first openly gay person to be elected to the B.C. legislature.

He says he's most proud of accomplishments the city made within the LGBTQ community, including making the annual gay pride parade a city-wide, inclusive event.

Another highlight was travelling to Russia in 2014 for the Sochi Olympics to talk to the president of the IOC about gay rights.

Stevenson is also proud of what Vancouver's economy has achieved under Vision's guidance, plus housing initiatives and even the bike lanes.

"Could we do more?" he asked. "I mean we're always compromising and you're always coming up against really difficult challenges."