SURREY â€” 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 heâ€™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.
â€œSo therefore, madam mayor, I submit my resignation as a councillor to you,â€ Hunt said, choking back tears. â€œIt 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 Novemberâ€™s election. Sorry for my emotions, but 23 years and two month later, Iâ€™m surprised to be here.â€
Mayor Dianne Watts chuckled as she said she wouldnâ€™t accept Huntâ€™s resignation.
â€œI 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, thatâ€™s my position.â€
All councillors echoed Wattsâ€™ comments.
â€œIt would be an amazing loss to this council not to have your strength as we head into this year ahead,â€ Coun. Linda Hepner said. â€œI certainly support you being here whenever the legislature allows you to. And heaven knows, itâ€™s going to be a hard seat to fill come November.â€
Coun. Bruce Hayne said as the new councillor on the block, heâ€™s appreciated Huntâ€™s mentorship, adding, â€œI 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 youâ€™ve been an MLA.â€
Coun. Barinder Rasode said, â€œCouncillor Hunt, the conviction with which you have served this office is not only commendable, itâ€™s consistent and itâ€™s predictable, which is really enlightening in the type of work that we do. Iâ€™ve never questioned either the advice or direction Iâ€™ve received from you as a new councillor in my second term. And you remind me Iâ€™m not as young as Iâ€™d like to think I am, but certainly younger than you and your wisdom and experience has been valuable to our city.â€
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.
â€œIâ€™m happy to have you when you can be here,â€ Rasode said.
â€œSo there you have it. So, unanimously not accepting your resignation,â€ Watts said with a laugh.
Hunt said, â€œThis 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.â€
But Hunt said it is time for him to make Victoria his priority.
B.C.â€™s community charter states that a person is disqualified from office on council if the personâ€œis 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.â€
Hunt said it was a sad day to hand in his resignation, but it had to be done.
â€œI will not be able to fulfill the conditions of local government, so therefore, I resign.â€