There were a number of upsets, unexpected results, and changes in the makeup of the councils in Langley Township and City on Saturday.
At the top of the list was the defeat of former mayor, councillor, and Liberal MLA and cabinet minister Peter Fassbender. He had been trying to win back the mayoral seat he had stepped down from in 2013.
Fassbender, who had left a previous term as mayor to run as a Liberal MLA in Surrey, said there might have been a perception that he wouldn’t stick around in the City again this time, though he had pledged to serve out his whole term.
Fassbender said he is still engaged in the effort to get light rail – and preferably SkyTrain – from Surrey to downtown Langley City.
“I live here, I’m a taxpayer, I’m passionate about this community,” Fassbender said.
In the Township, first-time challenger Anna Remenik didn’t come close to unseating incumbent Mayor Jack Froese – except in Brookswood.
Remenik won 1,132 of her 8,407 votes at the George Preston Recreation Centre polling place, ahead of the 1,056 votes for Froese.
But it wasn’t enough to win, as Froese won the advance polls as well as every other polling place.
“I wasn’t surprised by that,” said Remenik, who became known for opposing the controversial Brookswood Official Community Plan over several years.
Remenik is still invested in the Brookswood issue, but in others as well.
“I think that my scope is a little broader now,” Remenik said.
She noted that “8,407 people wanted me to speak on their behalf.”
She plans to hold the winning candidates to the promises made during the campaign, about issues such as the tree protection bylaw or roads.
She isn’t considering running again yet.
“I’ll never say never,” she said.
New and returning members of both councils are now considering putting their promises into action.
For new Township councillor Eric Woodward, 208th Street and other major roadways are an issue that needs immediate attention.
He hopes that the changes on the council will reduce some of the “fighting and bickering” that took place over the last four years.
The other new Township councillors are Margaret Kunst, best known for her involvement with the PuCKS program, and Steve Ferguson, a returning former councillor who had previously served for years.
In Langley City, Coun. Nathan Pachal topped the polls and won in his first regular election, having been elected in a by-election in 2016.
Pachal wants to see the City implement some rental-only zones to increase the stock of rental housing and work with the Lions Society to redevelop their Rainbow housing complex in the downtown.
Like other candidates, he’s alert that the election of Doug McCallum as mayor of Surrey has changed the conversation about light rail and the planned line to Langley.
Tearing up existing plans could potentially risk the federal and provincial funding for passenger rail projects south of the Fraser, Pachal said.
“My worst fear is that someone will just say, ‘Okay, we’ll spend the money on Vancouver,’ and we’ll lose out on rapid transit for another decade,” Pachal said.
Langley City’s major council upset saw multi-term councillor Jack Arnold lose his seat. School trustee and former councillor Rosemary Wallace, and fellow former councillor Teri James took the seats vacated by Arnold and by Val van den Broek’s move from councillor to mayor.