The voters have spoken, and if they made one thing clear, it was that B.C.’s 2022 municipal election were about one thing: change.
Across the province, voters turned out to turf sitting civic leaders, and nowhere was that ornery mood more clear than in Metro Vancouver, where six cities dumped incumbent mayors.
The big headline was in Vancouver, where Ken Sim trounced incumbent Kennedy Stewart by double digits in a rematch of the tight 2018 election, and swept to power with his entire slate.
In Surrey, beleaguered Mayor Doug McCallum was narrowly defeated by former councillor Brenda Locke.
Like Vancouver, West Vancouver was a rematch between incumbent Mary-Ann Booth and Mark Sager, whom she defeated by just 21 votes in 2018.
Also like Vancouver, this time the outcome was nowhere near as close, with Sager more than doubling Booth’s vote share.
In Langley City, after a nasty mayoral race filled with name-calling and allegations of trashed election signs, Coun. Nathan Pachal beat incumbent Val van den Broek by a two-to-one margin.
“Priority number one is SkyTrain,” Pachal told Global News from his victory party.
“Besides that, I heard clearly that community safety is the top issue for Langley City followed closely by affordable housing and addressing homelessness. So I look forward to working with our new council. We have a mix of incumbents and new faces, about 50-50.”
Maple Ridge incumbent Mike Morden fell to former MP Dan Ruimy by nearly 2,000 votes, and in White Rock, Darryl Walker fell to newcomer Megan Knight.
But the house cleaning wasn’t limited to the Lower Mainland.
Voters sent two-term Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran packing in unambiguous fashion, voting in Tom Dyas by a two-to-one margin in another rematch of the 2018 race.
On Vancouver Island, after nearly three decades in office, Langford Mayor Stew Young fell to a challenge from Scott Peter Goodmanson, while in Saanich incumbent Fred Haynes fell to challenger Dean Murdock by fewer than 200 ballots.
No fewer than 28 other municipalities handed their mayors pink slips, including Williams Lake, Penticton, Cranbrook, Nelson, Quesnel and Powell River.
The 2022 election also delivered mayors to a number of B.C. communities where the incumbent mayor did not run again.
In Victoria, councillor Marianne Alto defeated councillor Stephen Andrew for the city’s top job after Lisa Helps chose not to run for re-election.
Ben Isitt, the only councillor running for re-election in Victoria was defeated, leaving the city with an essentially fresh council.
“There is no doubt there is going to be excitement at the table, there is going to be enthusiasm, and there’s going to need to be somebody there who understands how the systems work, can provide a bit of mentorship, and also understands the need to make sure those systems work better for people,” Alto said of her new role guiding council.
“It’s balance between exciting new things and being confident that the experience is there too.”
New Westminster’s new mayor is Patrick Johnstone, who fended off a challenge from Ken Armstrong and Chuck Puchmayr after incumbent Johnathan Cote opted out.
“Our message through the New West election has been looking forward for the city, about the direction where the city is going. It has been a really positive message, and it’s also a message that we’re doing the right things in the city,” Johnstone told Global News.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work protecting affordable housing, building new affordable housing, addressing the climate crisis. We’re doing good things in the city and I think the voters have told us they want us to stay on that path.”
Port Moody voters opted for the more pro-development Megan Lahti over Steve Milani, after incumbent Rob Vagramov did not run again.
In Langley Township, where Jack Foese did not run for re-election, Eric Woodward handily defeated Blair Whitmarsh and former Liberal deputy premier Rich Coleman.
In Abbotsford, where popular Mayor Henry Braun retired, Ross Seimens more than doubled the vote share of competitor Manjit Sohi.
And in Prince George, Simon Yu defeated a field of challengers to take the mayor’s chair with more than 40 per cent of the ballots.