Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson re-elected
Published Sunday, November 20, 2011 6:51PM PST
Incumbent Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision council earned a renewed mandate in Saturday's municipal election, while the Non-Partisan Association made gains in council and on the park and school boards.
Robertson defeated NPA challenger Suzanne Anton by 18,853 votes, with support starkly divided geographically. The Happy Planet co-founder dominated downtown, West and East Vancouver while Anton's support was mainly isolated to the city's south.
In his victory speech, Robertson thanked voters for delivering Vision a seat for every candidate on its slate.
"Tonight, you've shown that Vancouver is a city that cares, a city that works together to lift everyone up," the grinning mayor said, "and you want us to continue that work that we started three years ago, including ending street homelessness and making it more affordable to live here."
He also reiterated his campaign promise to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020.
"We have proved in the last three years that we can dream big and accomplish big things in this city," Robertson said. "Every single person in this room and across the city has the power to make change."
The mayor's campaign survived sustained attacks from the NPA, who mocked his support of separated bike lanes, backyard chicken coops and urban wheat fields.
Anton spent much of the race blasting Robertson's handling of the Occupy Vancouver encampment, an issue that one pre-election survey suggested didn't hold much sway with voters.
Speaking to supporters at the NPA headquarters at Hotel Vancouver, Anton congratulated her rival as well as her party for increasing their council presence.
"Now there will be debate at City Hall," Anton announced to a cheering crowd. "I do think, speaking for the democratic process, that that is much better."
Despite her defeat, the NPA – which seated only one councillor, two school board trustees and a single park board commissioner in 2008 – gained seats in every other race.
NPA council candidates Elizabeth Ball and George Affleck secured comfortable victories, and the party won three school trustee seats and two on the park board.
Both boards and City Hall will again be dominated by Vision. Green Party candidate Adriane Carr will round out council after eking out a victory of less than 100 votes over COPE incumbent Ellen Woodworth.
COPE was shut out of both City Hall and the park board; only the party's incumbent school board trustee Allan Wong was re-elected.
Vancouver saw the highest voter turnout since 2002, at 34.3 per cent. The 2008 election saw a dismal 31-per-cent turnout, an all-time low for the city.
All three of the city's capital borrowing questions, regarding a combined $180 million in loans for community facilities and transportation and public safety projects, were approved.