Add Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner’s name to the growing list of Metro Vancouver mayors bowing out in the coming election.
Hepner confirmed she would not seek re-election in the October 2018 municipal elections in a Tuesday media release.
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“For 33 years the City of Surrey has been a chosen priority in my life and I have been honoured to serve the people of this city,” Hepner wrote.
“During my time with Surrey, the city has evolved from a modest suburb into the region’s second metropolitan centre and a globally recognized leading-edge city. I am very proud to have contributed to this transformation, but there will always be more to do, more to achieve and, therefore, there is never an ideal time to leave.”
Hepner’s chief of communications told Global News the one-term mayor was leaving of her own volition, and was not “pushed out.”
Hepner was first elected to Surrey city council in 2005, and was re-elected in 2008 and 2011.
She led the Surrey First slate to a sweep of the mayorship, all eight council seats and the full school board in the 2014 election.
During her term, Hepner championed a system of light rail transit (LRT) for the city, repeatedly promising that work on the project would be underway by 2018.
She has served on a number of regional committees, including the Metro Vancouver and TransLink boards.
She also served as the vice-chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation until 2017, when she chose not to stand for re-election after Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was defeated in his bid to be re-elected as board chair.
She now joins eight other mayors who won’t seek re-election this fall, including:
- Gregor Robertson, Vancouver
- Lois Jackson, Delta
- Darrel Mussatto, City of North Vancouver
- Richard Walton, District of North Vancouver
- Greg Moore, Port Coquitlam
- Nicole Read, Maple Ridge
- Ted Schaffer, Langley
Metro Vancouver municipalities go to the polls on October 20, 2018.
During a press conference on Wednesday Hepners said it was time for her to step down, “This is not an easy decision for me, but I sincerely believe now is the right time for me to dedicate more time for my family and friends.”
As Hepner approached 70, she said she was looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren as well.
But before she retires Hepner is vowing to make the homeless encampment on the so-called Whalley Strip her priority.
“Those housing units where we hope to house those who are in tents have started arriving on site and I’m hopeful that prior to summer that 135 A Street… doesn’t have tents,” said Hepner.
As for regrets, she said she wishes she could’ve seen a performing arts centre and an outdoor stadium built in the city.
- With files from Jordan Armstrong