Two of the most influential local politicians of the past generation plan on ending public life in the fall.
Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie and Surrey councillor Judy Villeneuve have both announced that they won't seek reelection in the October 20 municipal elections.
Louie was first elected to council in 2002 and has been the point man on city finances.
He's also vice chair of Metro Vancouver and served a term as president of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.
Villeneuve has spent 29 consecutive years on Surrey council, bringing a progressive voice to the Surrey First slate on housing, arts and culture, and environmental issues. Villeneuve is a long-time Metro Vancouver director and chairs the regional culture committee.
Louie told the Straight by phone that he feels there are many great candidates eager to run for council under the Vision Vancouver brand
"It's a centre-left coalition concept and is something that works well for the City of Vancouver," Louie said. "Much has changed. I think that when I was first elected to council, I was the only person of colour."
Now, there are candidates from across the ethnic spectrum seeking local political offices in the fall.
When asked what he was most proud of, Louie replied, "I'm happy that the City of Vancouver has taken on more than any other city in North America in regards to housing. Despite our continuing challenge with affordability, we've stepped up well beyond what other cities have done."
Louie added that this included pushing this issue with the provincial and federal governments.
"It was hard work to get the federral government to change and put in place a national housing strategy," Louie said. "That is certainly a welcome change from the Conservative government."
At the same time, he acknowledged that more still needs to be done.
Louie has been the long-time chair of the PNE board of directors. He noted that the finances are in good shape as he prepares to leave local politics.
"I think that my love for our city will not change and I intend to continue to work closely to try to make it better," he said. "Who knows? I might come back to elected life at some point in the future.
Villeneuve issued a statement saying thanking her Surrey First colleagues for showing a "sense of respect and collaboration, even among people who don't always agree on every issue".
"The proof is in just how far our city has come in a very short amount of time, and the reputation we’re building together as a great place to live and work," she noted. "None of this happens if you don’t have a community vision and citizens who want to go to work creating the kind of future we all want.”More