A hard-fought campaign in Port Moody brought out more voters than in previous elections, knocking out two incumbents in the process and bringing in one of the youngest politicians in the city's history.
It also returned Mayor Mike Clay to the corner office, where he's looking forward to continuing council's work of the past three years and implementing many of the projects and events that were suggested through the city's latest Ipsos-Reid poll.
"People really want more festivals and activities... so we're trying to get more community-based events going on," Clay told The Tri-City News. "A lot of work has happened but the events haven't taken place yet, and I hope we don't lose that."
Clay is also anticipating more focus on integrating the Evergreen Line into the community and following up on the official community plan with an updated zoning bylaw, transportation plan and parks and recreation plan.
What he doesn't expect to happen is re-opening the OCP.
"I'm taking it as my mandate that [voters] are generally supportive of the OCP, though I understand the concerns people have with the speed of growth and traffic congestion we've had in the past.
"That's not what this one is about — it's about slow, controlled growth that would be turned down if it ever got to a point where it was causing problems, but left flexible and adaptable for when we have opportunities."
Clay's challenger, former city manager Gaetan Royer, finished just over 800 votes shy of the win after a campaign that focused on re-opening the OCP.
He declined to be interviewed Monday but sent a response to one of five emailed questions, saying, "Only two of the council members who voted in favour of the official community plan are returning to council."
He added it is "now near certain that the plan will be amended and that makes the whole campaign effort worthwhile for me. Considering that one candidate campaigned against 'Metrotownification,' his win... sums up the biggest issue of the election: Thousands of residents expect a more modest plan that respects Moody Centre's character."
Royer led what many considered a five-member slate, backed by NDP MP Fin Donnelly, from which three candidates were elected — incumbents Rick Glumac and Zoe Royer as well as newcomer Barbara Junker.
In fact, Glumac drew the most votes of all candidates, topping the polls with 4,493 votes to surpass Clay's 4,261 votes.
"I couldn't have asked for a better result," Glumac said. "I worked really hard over my first term and, during the campaign, I focused on what my accomplishments were and what I want to do for the next four years."
He attributed part of his success to running a positive campaign and not getting distracted by the negativity.
In the coming term, Glumac said he aims to focus on responsible growth that preserves the "unique identity" of Port Moody, work on traffic issues and look to expand Rocky Point Park.
Glumac was followed closely in the standings by Coun. Diana Dilworth, who earned 3,916 votes and anticipated the next four years will be "very interesting" and that the city will ultimately benefit from the diversity of opinions on the new council.
"I believe the mayor has a clear mandate with his vision but there are a number of council members who have a lot of different ideas, and the challenge will be bringing all those great ideas together," Dilworth said, adding that regardless of political backgrounds, all council members are committed to making Port Moody a better place.
Following Dilworth in the polls was incumbent Coun. Zoe Royer with 3,658 votes and Meghan Lahti — returning to council after a three-year hiatus — with 3,481 votes. Neither responded to requests for an interview.
Junker will be one of two new faces at the council table after she earned 3,362 votes to take the fifth spot among voters (Junker is dealing with a recent death in her family and declined to comment for this story) while Robert Vagramov clinched the last spot with 3,285.
At 22 years old, Vagramov will also be the youngest council member, a factor he believes could work in his favour.
"I'm not afraid to suggest things other people might be," he said, adding his relative inexperience when it comes to the concerns of many voters — the struggle to raise a family while paying a mortgage and property taxes — isn't an issue.
"I lived on my own for years while studying in Ottawa so I have household budget experience, as does every renter in our city with or without direct property tax payments. My function as a councillor is to bring what I hear from residents to the decision-making table."
He likened the election campaign to "high school drama" and said the next four years will be about focusing less on the OCP debate and more on livability.
Falling to seventh and eighth positions were incumbents Gerry Nuttall, with 3,222 votes and Rosemary Small, with 2,861.
"I'm very disappointed, but I want to thank everyone that voted for me and supported me over the last three years," Small said, noting she was most proud of council's work on the OCP and her roles as chair of the transportation committee and the high-tech park sub-committee.
"I think Mike [Clay] will do a great job and I'm glad he was re-elected to take the city in the right direction," Small added.
Coming in at ninth was Anne Ladouceur (2,217 votes), followed by Chris Carter (2,166), Callan Morrison (1,906), Cathy Cena (1,644) and Tom Bell (835).
Slightly more than 7,800 of the city's 22,000 eligible voters went to the polls for a total turnout of 35.5%, up from 26% in 2011.
by Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News
posted Nov 18, 2014 at 3:00 PM