Local hopes dashed, Surrey First slate sweeps

Dianne Watts and her team crush the opposition, and local hopes.

Make that Surrey First, second and third.

Mayor Dianne Watts’ Surrey First team crushed the opposition on election night, sweeping council and dominating school board.

Longtime councillor Bob Bose, of the Surrey Civic Coalition, lost his seat after 28 years on council. The former Surrey mayor earned 25,832 votes, behind Surrey First incumbent Barinder Rasode with 33,616, and SF’s Bruce Hayne.

“I’m not going to run again,” Bose said, adding the loss would have made him happy if it meant one of the SCC candidates got on council.

“Enormous sadness is we have these bright young candidates,” he said. “Maybe they’ll get on with their lives.”

He later told his supporters via Twitter: “Many thanks to you all for placing your trust in me for all these years. I am a lucky man to have so many friends.”

Despite heavy turnouts at advance polls, and reports of long queues at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre and voters lined up out the door in Clayton, turnout was just 25 per cent in Surrey.

Out of 279,140 possible voters, just 70,232 turned out to cast their votes, slightly higher than the 24 per cent recorded in 2008 but well below the 35 per cent who voted in Surrey’s 2005 election.

The Surrey First sweep dashed the hopes of at least two candidates from the Cloverdale area.

The first was SCC candidate Gary Robinson, a past councillor who served in the 1990s and hoped 2011 would be his comeback. The loss of Bose, he said, means Surrey council has “lost its soul.”

The second was SFU student Paul Hillsdon, a 21-year-old independent running for school board. Surrey First candidates took five of six seats on Surrey’s board of education, with SCC’s Charlene Dobie edging into the final position.

There were high hopes for the web and social media-savy Hillsdon, a strong voice for transit and planning issues in Surrey.

He earned an endorsement from mayor Watts and other prominent Surrey Firsters in the final week of his campaign, fittingly on Twitter.

Like Bose, Hillsdon plans to move on to new ventures.

“I have found it incredibly difficult these past three years to build a life and bright future, all while keeping the political door slightly ajar,” he told supporters on his website.

– With files from Kevin Diakiw, Black Press

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