A political dynasty in Burnaby is over. Independent Mike Hurley has defeated incumbent mayor Derek Corrigan in a race that will no doubt send shock waves across the region.
Corrigan has been Burnaby’s mayor since he was elected in 2002.
Hurley, a retired firefighter, got 53.24 per cent of the votes, according to unofficial results posted by the city’s website. Corrigan finished second with 41.23 per cent of the votes.
“Thanks so much to the voters in Burnaby for putting their trust in me,” Hurley told Global News after his win was declared. “I will come to work every day on their behalf, and to get the best deals for Burnaby.”
Recent polls indicated that Hurley’s support was growing and Corrigan’s power base was shrinking. Four years ago, Corrigan won the election by nearly 20,000 votes, and his political party, Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA), won all of the council seats.
Despite Corrigan’s loss, his party still nearly swept council, earning all but one of the seats, including incumbents Sav Dhaliwal, Dan Johnston, Colleen Jordan, Paul McDonell, Pietro Calendino and James Wang. The final seat was filled by Joe Keithley of the Burnaby Green Party.
Despite now facing a council mostly filled by supporters of his opponent, Hurley said he wasn’t going to let party loyalties get in the way.
“I know most of the BCA council, and I’m confident that I can work with [them] and make some good ways forward for Burnaby with most of those councillors,” Hurley said.
This year’s mayoral campaign centred around a desire for change in Burnaby and the controversy around Metrotown demovictions. Hurley often reminded voters during the campaign that 700 families have been forced from their homes because of development decisions made by Corrigan’s council.
Crime was also a substantial issue over the past month. Hurley told stories about how residents have been bringing bear spray and weapons into parks while walking at night because they fear for their safety.
Burnaby has been hit hard, like most of Metro Vancouver, by the affordability crisis. The city ranks 520th out of 522 Canadian municipalities for housing supply and affordability, according to the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association.
Hurley has promised to put in place a moratorium on developments not yet approved until housing can be found for residents at the same rent levels. He will also bring in a task force of affordable housing experts to research and propose solutions within six months of taking office.
WATCH: Coverage of the Burnaby mayoral race on Globalnews.ca
To address the safety issue, Hurley has promised to hire more RCMP officers and follow their advice when it comes to patrols. He has also committed to more pedestrian-controlled crosswalks across the city.
The power change in Burnaby will also have regional impacts. Corrigan held significant clout across the region and had a strong working relationship with the provincial government.
He was the chair of the mayors’ council, which is responsible for strategic, long-term transportation decision-making and TransLink investments.