Two set to run for Pitt mayor

Couns. Deb Walters and Doub Bing want the job, while a third mulling it over

Doug Bing and Deb Walters will be vying for the mayor's seat in Pitt Meadows in the November civic election.

Doug Bing and Deb Walters will be vying for the mayor's seat in Pitt Meadows in the November civic election.

Two city councillors will compete for the mayor’s seat in Pitt Meadows come November, a spot that’s been held by Don Maclean for the past 12 years.

Doug Bing and Deb Walters announced their intentions Monday, a few days after MacLean revealed he will not be seeking re-election.

Both two-term councillors, Bing drew the most votes in the 2005 civic election with 1,972, while Walters was a close second with 1,937.

Walters was going to vie for the mayor’s seat even if MacLean had not stepped aside.

“I’ve actually made my decision long before he announced and wasn’t going to announce it until fall,” she said.

“I can dedicate myself to being a full-time mayor. I think our citizens expect it and I can be there for them.”

Walters doesn’t think it will be difficult competing for the mayor’s chair against a fellow councillor and friend.

“Doug’s style of politics is totally different from mine,” she added. “We certainly want the best for our community, but I am more out there and involved in the community and he is more laid back.”

“It is just what the people of Pitt Meadows want. At the end of the day, they are going to make the decision and I am satisfied with whatever direction they choose to go with.”

For Bing, a local dentist, seeking the mayor’s seat is just the next, logical step for a city councillor.

“It’s been an honour serving on council for the past six years, but you reach a point where you are interested in a new challenge,” he said.

“These sort of opportunities for councillors don’t come around very often. I am excited.”

Winning the mayor’s seat would mean cutting back on work, but Bing has an “understanding” business partner and intends to tweak his hours to accommodate a busy mayoral schedule.

“Being in my own business, I am fortunately able to control my days and hours compared to some people.”

The four other members of the city’s current municipal council – John Becker, Gwen O’Connell, Bruce Bell and Tracy Miyashita – will also seek re-election this year.

O’Connell is already throwing her support behind Walters, who she first endorsed in 2005.

“The reason I am going to support her is because I really do feel that she has her heart in Pitt Meadows,” O’Connell said.

“I am a strong supporter of Deb’s. I think that she does her job thoroughly. She is not going to be attached to anything else. I think we are a big enough city now that we need somebody who is full-time and available.”

Meanwhile, Becker isn’t ruling out a run for the mayor’s position. First elected to council in 2002, he is a lawyer with a busy practice and was blind-sided by MacLean’s sudden announcement last week.

“There are big shoes to fill with Don leaving,” said Becker, who got 1,693 votes in the 2005 election.

“On a personal note, I hadn’t thought that he was going to step aside. I would not have had the conceit to run against him.”

Becker would have to “align more stars” than other councillors if he decided to seek the mayor’s seat.

“I have a job and a business. So the issue of running for mayor, while intriguing, is one I have not really got my head around – as yet,” he said.

He added MacLean put a lot of personal and business issues aside for many years.

“I can appreciate and see the sacrifices he made, so it’s not something I would do lightly,” said Becker. “There are some very big, high-level issues that need to be addressed. I think we are doing very well, but it’s by design not accident.”