Pitt Meadows incumbent councillors Mike Stark and Bruce Bell will not be running for re-election. (Contributed)

Veteran city councillors bow out in Pitt Meadows

Stark and Bell announce they will not seek re-election

Councillors Bruce Bell and Mike Stark have announced they will not be seeking re-election in Pitt Meadows in the Oct. 20 municipal election.

Both men were elected as part of a team that included Mayor John Becker, Coun. Janis Elkerton and former Coun. David Murray. They issued press releases on Friday, just minutes apart, as the deadline for nominations closed.

With the deadline now passed, the races are set.

The contest for mayor is between incumbent John Becker and Coun. Bill Dingwall, who was the top vote-getter in Pitt Meadows in 2014.

There are 10 people running for the six council positions. These include incumbents Janis Elkerton and Tracy Miyashita, former councillor Gwen O’Connell, and newcomers Brad Dinwoodie, Mike Hayes, Ariane Jaschke, Nicole MacDonald, Bob Meachen, Susan Miller and Anena Simpson.

Bell has served 10 years at city hall, and said the last four years on council have been “the best of the bunch.”

“So much was accomplished this term. Here are some of the more significant ones. Property Tax increases were kept low every year including no increase to the property taxes in 2015. We opened up city hall to a weekly public Q&A session in an effort to be transparent with city business. We brought the Pitt Meadows parks and recreation department in house, which gives it a made in Pitt Meadows feel. We approved the Onni business park, which will provide tax relief, local jobs and a large sports field amenity,” he said.

“I am supporting Mayor John Becker and Coun. Janis Elkerton in their re-election,” he added. “There are at least four open positions on council this election. The knowledge, experience and dedication of Becker and Elkerton will be a tremendous asset for the next council.”

He called it an honour and a privilege to serve on council.

Stark, who did one four-year term on council, after scarcely missing a meeting as a council watcher for the previous six, is also endorsing his former teammates Becker and Elkerton, ton ensure a smooth transition.

“I feel strongly that they possess the experience, skills and commitment necessary to continue to build a strong vibrant Pitt Meadows,” he said.

“After spending almost every Tuesday night for the last 10 years at Council meetings, I have decided to spend more time with my family.”

“We have had many challenges over the last four years, but our successes far outweigh them,” said Stark, adding that he is most proud of the degree of transparency at City Hall and the implementation of a world class civic engagement policy.

“Also, our taxes are the lowest in Metro Vancouver while delivering top-notch services. The development of the Onni Business Park as well as the North Lougheed land will provide jobs and a solid tax base well into the future!”

Asked whether the departure of two elected members of Becker’s team would hurt the mayor and Elkerton’s chances of re-election, he said their experience should be valued.

“He (Becker) is a dedicated guy, a smart guy, does his homework and he cares about the city,” said Bell.

“I really feel that council should be a team.”

Bell said he would not close the door on running in the future, but added that after nine years as a firefighter, 10 years on council and more time as a volunteer coach, he wants to put more time into family life and grandchildren.

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