ELECTION: Surrey First councillors take all the seats, roughly 50 per cent of the votes

SURREY — Though this is the second election in a row that’s seen Surrey First sweep all nine council seats, there are a few new faces at the table.

Newcomers Vera LeFranc, Mike Starchuk and Dave Woods will join incumbents Judy Villeneuve, Tom Gill, Mary Martin, Barbara Steele and Bruce Hayne.

The new councillors received the lowest votes of the slate.

Gill topped the polls, garnering 52,338 votes, next to veteran Villeneuve with 49,210. Next was Steele (44,469), Martin (43,937), Hayne (41,877), then the incoming Woods (41,167), Starchuk (40,181) and LeFranc (37,597).

While Surrey First swept all the seats, the councillors took home roughly 50 per cent of the votes. Out of 698,499 votes cast for councillors, Surrey First received 350,776.

LeFranc, a Guildford resident, is senior manager of community projects for Vancity and a co-ordinator of the Surrey Homeless and Housing Fund. She has worked with the society’s board of directors and foundation to distribute close to $3 million in funding to organizations serving Surrey’s most vulnerable.

LeFranc worked on the city’s poverty reduction framework that council adopted in 2012.

She’s since spent time working in the non-profit sector, focusing on a variety of issues including employment, poverty reduction as well as housing and homelessness.

Starchuk, a longtime firefighter, served as the city’s Chief Fire Prevention Officer until he retired last July. He is one of the founding members of the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society.

All in all, he served for 32 years.

In 2013, Starchuk was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work and dedication to Surrey.

Woods, a retired RCMP staff sergeant and former district commander for Port Kells/Cloverdale, has served 43 years with the RCMP, primarily in Surrey and Burnaby.

While at the Surrey detachment, he established a police community consultation group aimed at opening lines of communication between residents, business groups and other stakeholders.

Woods is a member of the Cloverdale Rotary Club, Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, Cloverdale Legion and is the vice-chair of Options Community Services Society’s board of directors.

Woods was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2012 and was named Police Officer of the Year by the Surrey Board of Trade in 2006.

LeFranc, Starchuk and Woods replaced Hepner, Marvin Hunt and Barinder Rasode as the party’s council candidates. Hunt left his councillor position earlier this year after being elected MLA for Surrey-Panorama, while Rasode split from the slate in April citing disagreements with the party.

As for those who were unsuccessful in their bid for a seat on Surrey council, next in line was Safe Surrey Coalition’s Rina Gill, who received 28,100 votes, then One Surrey’s Michael Bose and Kal Dosanjh, who took home 27,178 and 26,970 votes respectively.

Next, also with Safe Surrey, were candidates Justin Thind (24,514) and Beau Simpson (19,981).

All in all, the 27 unsuccessful council candidates received 347,723 votes – an average of 12,879 each.

Just over 100,000 people cast a ballot in Surrey in the 2014 civic election, up from 70,253 in 2011.

Out of 287,940 eligible Surrey voters, the city said 101,558 cast a ballot – a 35.3 per cent voter turnout.

That is up from 2008 and 2011 elections, which saw a 24.1 per cent and 25 per cent turnout respectively, but is close to the 2005 civic election where Dianne Watts defeated then-mayor Doug McCallum. That race saw 35.1 per cent of the electorate turn out to vote.


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