Fraser Valley elections: Everything old is new again

Post election roundup

Despite early predictions of a larger voter turnout this year, the citizens of Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission came to the polling booths in similar numbers from previous years.

As in most years, a little over a third of eligible voters made their way to local halls and school gymnasiums to tick off a long list of names deciding who will lead their community into the future. Transportation, housing, homelessness and crime continue to be major concerns of the communities, but how these issues will be addressed still varies.

The Board owes thanks to our Government Relations committee volunteers for participating in 10 election meetings sponsored by the FVREB.  The meetings gave attendees the opportunity to hear what the candidates had to say about issues of concern, from transportation to crime, from housing to cannabis, and beyond.


After two decades of leadership from the venerable Lois Jackson, the former city manager George Harvie will step into her shoes as the new mayor of Delta. Harvie’s election slate Achieving for Delta also took  four seats on council. He attributed his win largely to voters of North Delta.

During the campaign, Harvie said public safety and youth gangs were a concern for Delta, and post-election he emphasized the need for an upgrade, or replacement, of the George Massey tunnel.

“It’s crumbling and rotting and we need to fix it.”


The selection of Doug McCallum for mayor in Surrey seemed to come as a surprise to many though with  councillors Tom Gill and Bruce Hayne competing for top spot, the vote got spilt almost evenly between the two runners-up.   That left McCallum comfortably in the middle with 41 per cent of the votes and an opportunity to fight for a Surrey city police force and scrap plans for Light Rapid Transit in favour of SkyTrain.

McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition slate took seven seats on council including Newton community activist Doug Elford and Steven Pettigrew, a key opponent of the Hawthorne Park clear cutting that was done to make way for a road linking Guildford to Surrey Central.

Soon after the election Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman issued warnings that the mayor-elect’s vow to reject the $1.65-billion Light Rail Transit project was a huge risk to the local economy.

“Transportation, and LRT in itself, has always been part of the economic development strategy to bring business here (and) keep business here,” Huberman said. “We will be left behind again in our city for transportation investments, and that just simply is not acceptable.”

White Rock

Dissatisfaction with the leadership of retiring White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin and his White Rock Coalition no doubt helped Democracy Direct’s Darryl Walker (30 per cent) beat  Coalition mayoral candidate Grant Meyer (21 per cent).

White Rock residents have seen a stark change in their small city as several high-rise developments  went up in the core, forcing many long time small businesses to close. The prolonged construction schedule throughout the city has fired up the editorial pages of the local paper with residents, many elderly, bitterly complaining about unsafe walkways and traffic jams as construction continues to reshape the look and feel of the once quiet seaside village.

Democracy Direct’s four candidates coupled with Coalition opponents and incumbent winners Helen Fathers and David Chesney will likely ensure a moratorium on highrises in White Rock until an audit of the 2017 Official Community Plan (OCP) with “full, open and true public engagement” is complete.

The mayor also wants to reinstate garbage and recycling collection for multi-unit residences and businesses, a new policy for builders and contractors,  “age-friendly and disability-friendly” affordable housing policies in the new OCP, as well as the restoration of council meeting question periods which the previous Council eliminated.

The Two Langleys

With four years on Langley city’s council under her belt, Val van den Broek took the mayoral seat with 50 per cent of the votes, beating out former BC Liberal cabinet minister Peter Fassbender. The majority of council incumbents kept their seats except for Jack Arnold.

Langley Township’s incumbent mayor Jack Froese won with 57.7 per cent of the vote. Newcomers to council are Margaret Kunst and controversial developer Eric Woodward whose purchase and redevelopment of several key properties in Fort Langley has met opposition from locals unhappy with his business approach and personal style. Despite this, Woodward got a whopping 45 per cent of the votes.


Abbotsford’s mayor Henry Braun held his seat comfortably at over 56 per cent of the vote as did all the incumbents on council. As one local media columnist put it, Abbotsford council’s political philosophy seems to be summed up simply as ‘No sudden moves.’


Pam Alexis won twice as many votes as her main challenger for the mayor’s chair, Randy Hawes. Alexis said she wants to be a bridge between the old and the new Mission, “ensuring the charm of our city is not lost in the mix.” Alexis was elected to Mission’s council in 2014. This will be her first term as mayor.





        Surrey    White Rock     City of Langley Langley Township      Abbotsford     Mission
*George Harvie *Doug McCallum *Darryl Walker *Val van den Boek *Jack Froese * Henry Braun * Pam Alexis
Alicia Guichon Brenda Locke Helen Fathers Nathan Pachal David Davis Patricia Ross Jagit Gill
Lois Jackson Doug Elford David Chesney Rosemary Wallace Eric Woodward Bruce Banman Cal Crawford
Dan Copeland Laurie Guerra Christopher Trevelyan Paul Albrecht Kim Richter Les Barkman Carol Hamilton
Jeannie Kanakos Jack Singh Hundial Erika Johanson Gayle Martin Bob Long Dave Loewen Danny Plecas
Bruce McDonald Allison Patton Scott Kristijanson Rudy Storteboom Blair Whitmarsh Brenda Falk Ken Herar
Dylan Kruger Linda Annis Anthony Manning Teri James Steve Ferguson Ross Siemens Mark Davies
Steven Pettigrew Petrina Arnason Kelly Chahal
Mandeep Nagra Margaret Kunst Sandy Blue