TransLink's fuel tax rises April 1 from 15 cents a litre to 17 cents.

Gas tax hike for transit didn’t hurt mayors

Voters re-elected biggest advocates of TransLink plan by wide margins

Drivers angry with the Metro Vancouver mayors who voted to jack TransLink’s gas tax by two cents next April got no obvious vengeance at the polls Saturday.

Incumbent mayors in North Vancouver, Langley City and Surrey who most vocally championed the gas tax increase as part of a plan to build the Evergreen Line and other transit upgrades were re-elected by wide margins, as were those in the cities of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam that will benefit from the new SkyTrain extension.

All of those mayors were returned by at least 70 per cent of their voters, except Coquitlam, where Richard Stewart got 57 per cent.

The tax hike was an issue in several cities, including Surrey, but Mayor Dianne Watts was returned with 80 per cent of the vote there and mayors’ council chair Richard Walton got 81 per cent in the District of North Vancouver.

Mayors who voted against the TransLink tax – Burnaby’s Derek Corrigan, Richmond’s Malcolm Brodie and Delta’s Lois Jackson – were also returned, indicating local issues and the power of incumbents were bigger factors.

The only incumbent mayor in Metro Vancouver who went down to defeat was Langley Township’s Rick Green. He voted against the gas tax hike but had been in a divisive battle with his own council throughout the past term.

Sitting mayors did not run again in Port Moody, West Vancouver, Pitt Meadows and White Rock and were replaced by new faces. They will now join the regional mayors’ council that votes on any future tax or fee increases to fund TransLink.

The mayors are expected to negotiate new revenue sources with the province that could see a vehicle levy or more bridge or road tolls added in Metro Vancouver.

Further east in the Fraser Valley, two more incumbent mayors were defeated in Abbotsford, where voters also rejected a referendum on a controversial plan to expand the Stave Lake water supply as a public-private partnership, and in Mission, where voters were angry about inspection fees charged to homes suspected of housing marijuana grow-ops.

City councils will designate their local directors to the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts.

Directors will then choose the new board chairs of the regional governments next month.

Jackson, Metro’s chair, said before the election she would not seek the position again.

One of the major challenges facing the two regional districts is the implementation of Metro’s plan to build a new garbage incinerator in the region, despite air pollution fears lodged by the FVRD.

Just Posted

Two years jail for Chilliwack man caught with six handguns threaded for silencers

Judge rules guns found by Conservation Officer search were to be distributed for a criminal purpose

Wide variety of art for sale at Art from the Heart show

Student art show runs Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Murder victim Jagvir Malhi was not involved in gangs, says IHIT

Investigators say Abbotsford man was ‘associated to those involved’ in conflict

Blues group Angel Forrest Trio at Bozzini’s in Chilliwack

Award-winning band from Quebec performs Nov. 28

Chilliwack Curling Club moves into new building

After 54 years next door, the Chilliwack Curling Club takes over a 30,000 square foot facility.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read