What we’re seeing, heading into the fall civic elections, is a seismic changing of the guard in leadership in the Lower Mainland as never witnessed before, and it’s largely self-inflicted
So far, no less than nine mayors currently serving in much-coveted and hard-fought-for political office in the Lower Mainland have decided to pull the plug on their own jobs. They won’t face potential defeat at the polls, for the simple fact their names won’t be on the ballot.
The result, by default, will be both the potential for fresh ideas while at the same a considerable dearth of continuity as these outgoing mayors deny themselves, for good or bad, a chance at being re-elected Oct. 20.
Among these soon-to-be-former mayors is Surrey’s Linda Hepner, representing a city bordered to its immediate west, south and east by cities whose experienced mayors have also decided to say goodbye: Lois Jackson (Delta), Wayne Baldwin (White Rock) and Ted Schaffer (City of Langley).
The pace of land development can be likened to a blur in these parts, in recent years. There’s much afoot to keep an eye on, and the learning curve will be steep for their replacements in these communities.
Whether or not you are a fan of your current mayor, you can’t deny the collective loss of experience after the polls close.
Hepner is a one-term mayor, elected in 2014, but for nine years prior was a Surrey councillor and before that a city bureaucrat hired in 1985. Thirty-three years service to Surrey, all told. Schaffer was elected mayor in 2011 and also served as a Langley city councillor from 1990-2008.
Lois Jackson has been Delta’s mayor since 1999 but was first elected alderman in 1973. And White Rock’s Mayor Wayne Baldwin, who has served two terms, was also White Rock’s city manager for 23 years.
So that’s what, 134 years of collective experience? Its loss will no doubt be felt.