Deb Walters is the new mayor of Pitt Meadows after defeating fellow councillor John Becker by more than 800 votes in the municipal election Saturday.
Walters, the city’s first female mayor, led the polls with 2,025 votes, according to unofficial results.
Becker was second in the mayoral race with 1,202 votes. Gary Paller had 473 votes.
Walters’ grassroots connections and army of volunteers are being credited for her success and won over a slick campaign run by her opponent Becker, who used a professional public relations firm, a telephone marketing service, based in Toronto and advertising to boost his profile.
Becker also had endorsements from two former mayors.
“We had in total over 100 volunteers, not one paid person,” said Walters, after winning.
“We wanted to be on the ground, we had decided right from day one that it would be about the people of Pitt Meadows. We wanted to connect with the people of Pitt Meadows. We enaged in the community to get volunteers and, you know, there was no shortage. They all jumped on board.”
Becker, who runs a law practice in the city, has no regrets about the campaign he ran.
“We ran exactly the campaign we intended to run. I articulated my position very clearly and engaged with hundreds of people – for that I’m grateful. The people of Pitt Meadows have had their say and I congratulate Deb Walters and her team. I am thrilled for Doug Bing and Dave Murray and I know the city will be very well served by their efforts.”
Also elected to council were incumbents Doug Bing (2,341 votes), Gwen O’Connell (1,975), Tracy Miyashita (1,971) and Bruce Bell (1,543).
Janis Elkerton, a former city councillor, was elected with 1,943 votes.
The city has a brand new face on councillor – Dave Murray, a CUPE-backed candidate, who got 1,214 votes.
Sarah Nelson and Elenor Palis were acclaimed to the school board.
Walters thanked her opponents Becker and Paller as well as former mayor Don MacLean, who has held the mayor’s position for the past 12 years.
“[MacLean] has laid the ground work,” said Walters, adding that Becker brought forward several good ideas during his election campaign that she would ask council to consider.
Turnout for the election was up with 30 per cent or 3,684 of 12,200 registered voters casting their ballots, compared to 23 per cent in 2008.