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New Metro Vancouver mayors shift focus to keeping election promises

(Source: Flickr: Ecstaticist)

New mayors will try to keep the many promises they've made while campaigning, now that the election has come and gone

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The campaigning is over, and now it’s time to get down to business.

Several new mayors have been elected across Metro Vancouver, and they’ll now start trying to keep their election promises. But it won’t all be easy.

In Vancouver, independent mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart will try to build 85,000 homes over the next 10 years with council divided among three Green Party members; five from the NPA and one each from COPE and OneCity.

That’s 13,000 more units than the current plan and according to one expert, to get that done, the former MP is going to have some unifying to do.

“Whether that be in Vancouver City Hall chambers or throughout the region, we’re going to need a new kind of civic engineer, who knows how to build bridges, not walls,” Andy Yan of SFU’s City Program says.

“The mayor, who’s an independent, has to span not only one, not only two, not even three, but four separate party lines.”

The new council will be about half right leaning and half progressive.

Meanwhile, back in the mayor’s chair in Surrey after 13 years, Doug McCallum and his party had a near sweep.

Priority one for him is ending the city’s relationship with the RCMP in favour of a municipal police department.

“The safety is the first step,” McCallum told reporters after his win on Saturday night. “We’re going to work to get our own police force, and then we’re going to work at putting programs in like Bar Watch. We’re going to make our youth, sort of, do in sports after school so we can keep them away from the gangs in Surrey. We’re going to make our community safe again.”

Former BC Solicitor General Kash Heed explains the contract with the RCMP can be broken because of the wording within it. However, he doesn’t believe it’s just about bringing in a new, unified police service that McCallum will need to consider.

“The interesting factor here is you want to make sure you have the most effective and efficient police service in that community,” he tells NEWS 1130. “Simply bringing in an independent municipal police agency does not necessarily give you that. I think Mayor-elect McCallum would have been better off to talk about the fact he would want the most effective, efficient, and accountable police service for the residents, and businesses, and visitors in Surrey.”

He says an independent police force could be established within two years, but he’s not as optimistic as McCallum might be.

“It’s unfortunate, I’m not a pessimist, but I’ve got to tell you, based on what I’ve seen, I don’t think you’re going to see an independent municipal police agency for Surrey,” Heed says.

He adds it’ll remain to be seen what promises McCallum and other mayor-elects will be able to deliver on.

The only way Surrey could see an independent force, Heed explains, is if the provincial government gets involved and looks at a ‘metro-style’ police force.

“Then you’re getting what we talked about, accountable, efficient, and effective police service that not only serves the City of Surrey, but clearly across the Lower Mainland, and that won’t be driven by municipal politicians.”

In Burnaby, a political dynasty is over after Independent Mike Hurley defeated incumbent mayor Derek Corrigan.

-With files from Toby Kerr, Peter Wagner, and the Canadian Press