Surrey Coun. Barbara Steele

Three more Metro directors added to regional board

Surrey, Vancouver, Langley Township seats increase to reflect Census population gains

There will be three more regional district directors for Metro Vancouver taxpayers to support in 2013.

Extra directors were named Friday and the number of votes allocated to each municipality have also been adjusted based on their population counts from the 2011 Census.

Fast-growing Surrey got a fifth Metro seat and appointed Coun. Barbara Steele, Vancouver got a seventh seat and named Coun. Kerry Jang and Langley Township got a second seat, naming Coun. Bob Long.

The increase boosts the total number of Metro directors from 37 to 40, including two from Abbotsford who vote only on regional parks matters.

Also changed are the number of votes each director wields.

Cities get one weighted vote for every 20,000 people, so lone directors representing tiny Belcarra, White Rock or Bowen Island get just one vote at the board, while the bigger cities have multiple directors with four or five votes each.

Surrey’s five directors now hold a combined 24 votes (up four from 20)  to reflect the city’s population of 468,000, while Vancouver, with a more modest population gain to 605,000, gained two votes (from 29 to 31) split among its seven directors.

The two biggest cities together now control 43 per cent of the board votes.

Five other cities gained a single additional vote each to reflect rising population – Burnaby’s three directors now have 12 votes, Richmond’s two directors have 10, Coquitlam’s two directors have seven votes, Langley Township has six and New Westminster’s lone director has four.

Metro directors get paid $346 per board or committee meeting they attend – double that if it runs longer than four hours – plus other authorized travel costs, in addition to their regular pay as mayors or councillors for their own city.

Typically, directors collect $10,000 to $20,000 a year from their Metro roles and taxpayers shelled out a total of $714,000 in meeting fees to directors in 2011.

At Surrey’s request, Metro Vancouver has asked the province to allow it to adjust the board size and number of votes each year – using provincial population estimates – to better reflect rapid population changes rather than waiting five years for each new Census.

Friday’s board meeting saw Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore returned by acclamation as Metro board chair. Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie also continues as vice-chair.