Vancouver council by-election vote proposed for October 14

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      The city has set a possible date for a council by-election this fall.

      Vancouver residents are expected to head to the polls on Saturday, October 14. Advance voting is anticipated to occur on October 4 and 10, according to a city news release.

      Candidates have until Friday, September, 8 to declare their intent to run and file the necessary paperwork.

      The election will fill a seat left vacant by Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs. Meggs recently took a position with the provincial government as chief of staff to incoming NDP premier John Horgan.

      The election will not tip the balance of power on council.

      There are 10 seats on Vancouver city council plus the mayor, who also gets a vote. With Meggs gone, Vision Vancouver holds the mayorship plus five council seats. The Non-Partisan Association (NPA) has three and the Green party has one.

      So far, only one person has made clear their intent to run. That’s Judy Graves, a long-time advocate for the homeless who is seeking a nomination with the relatively new OneCity party.

      From 2010 to 2013, Graves was employed by the City of Vancouver as its official advocate for the homeless. Before that, she worked as its tenant-assistance coordinator.

      There’s also a grassroots Facebook campaign that’s calling for Jean Swanson to run for Meggs’s vacant seat.

      Swanson is one of the very few people in Vancouver whose advocacy work for affordable housing and the homeless can be compared to that of Graves. Swanson herself, however, has not said she’s interested in the seat or, if she does decide to run, said what party she will run with.

      Former Vision Vancouver school trustee Patti Bacchus and former Green party council candidate Pete Fry's names have also been mentioned in connection with the race. Meanwhile, the Coalition of Progressive Electors has scheduled a nomination meeting for August 29.

      Bacchus was a trustee from 2008 to 2016. She was removed from that position when the provincial government fired Vancouver’s entire school board. In Vancouver’s 2014 election, she received the third-most votes of any candidate competing for any position. Only Mayor Gregor Robertson and Green party councillor Adrian Carr received greater numbers of votes.

      Bacchus has not declared her intent to run. If she does, it’s presumed she would campaign with Vision Vancouver.

      October 14 could also serve as an election date for Vancouver’s nine school board seats that have sat empty since October 2016. That month, B.C. education minister Mike Bernier removed the entire board after it failed to pass a budget and following allegations of bullying.

      The incoming NDP government has until August 4 to decide if it wants Vancouver to hold an election for those nine school board seats on the same day that it fills Meggs’s vacant council seat.

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