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After 23 years and two months, Hunt hands in his resignation as Surrey councillor


SURREY — Twenty-three years and two months after he was first sworn in as a Surrey city councillor, Marvin Hunt handed in his resignation Monday night.

The veteran politician won his bid as MLA for Surrey-Panorama in the last provincial election.

Hunt ultimately deciding not to accept his council pay, but planned to stay on as long as he could.

Hunt said Monday he’d received his scheduled for the new session of the B.C. legislature and would be unable to attend any city meetings from then until June.

“So therefore, madam mayor, I submit my resignation as a councillor to you,” Hunt said, choking back tears. “It has been an absolutely awesome privilege to serve this wonderful city. And I wish you and all the rest of my council all the best for this term and great success in November’s election. Sorry for my emotions, but 23 years and two month later, I’m surprised to be here.”

Mayor Dianne Watts chuckled as she said she wouldn’t accept Hunt’s resignation.

“I think that whenever you can possibly attend that we would like for that to occur. Like I said, I understand your responsibility, but as mayor and chair, that’s my position.”

All councillors echoed Watts’ comments.

“It would be an amazing loss to this council not to have your strength as we head into this year ahead,” Coun. Linda Hepner said. “I certainly support you being here whenever the legislature allows you to. And heaven knows, it’s going to be a hard seat to fill come November.”

Coun. Bruce Hayne said as the new councillor on the block, he’s appreciated Hunt’s mentorship, adding, “I just wanted to point out that from day one, you did the honourable thing and said that you would not and did not accept the council salary since you’ve been an MLA.”

Coun. Barinder Rasode said, “Councillor Hunt, the conviction with which you have served this office is not only commendable, it’s consistent and it’s predictable, which is really enlightening in the type of work that we do. I’ve never questioned either the advice or direction I’ve received from you as a new councillor in my second term. And you remind me I’m not as young as I’d like to think I am, but certainly younger than you and your wisdom and experience has been valuable to our city.”

Rasode advocated for a byelection after Hunt won his bid for MLA, and said she still believes that having him in his council seat is an important part of democracy.

“I’m happy to have you when you can be here,” Rasode said.

“So there you have it. So, unanimously not accepting your resignation,” Watts said with a laugh.

Hunt said, “This has been a great council to work with. And we have worked together as a team on an awful lot of things, so I have always known I had the support of council.”

But Hunt said it is time for him to make Victoria his priority.

B.C.’s community charter states that a person is disqualified from office on council if the person“is absent from council meetings for a period of 60 consecutive days or 4 consecutive regularly scheduled council meetings, whichever is the longer time period, unless the absence is because of illness or injury or is with the leave of the council.”

Hunt said it was a sad day to hand in his resignation, but it had to be done.

“I will not be able to fulfill the conditions of local government, so therefore, I resign.”

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