NEWS FILE PHOTO

Voters in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Langley may head back to polls in 2021

Election of local politicians in BC vote would trigger by-elections in several Fraser Valley cities

Whether this fall or next, B.C. voters would have to head to the polls during a pandemic, John Horgan said while explaining his decision to call a snap election.

But now that voting in the 2020 provincial election has concluded, residents of Langley, Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack could all be set to head to the polls again next year.

In three of those Fraser Valley cities, municipal or school board politicians are ahead in their respective races and look likely to trade local government positions for seats in the legislature. In Abbotsford-Mission, meanwhile, Mission Mayor Pam Alexis will have to wait weeks to see if she has won her race against BC Liberal Simon Gibson.

In Abbotsford and Chilliwack, the situation is clearest even with thousands of mail-in ballots to count.

RELATED: Abbotsford BC Liberals de Jong and Banman heading to Victoria, say Highway 1 widening will be focus

RELATED: Abbotsford-Mission riding too close to call, mail-in ballots will decide

Abbotsford Coun. Bruce Banman has a 2,000-plus vote lead in his Abbotsford South riding, while Chilliwack school trustee Dan Coulter has a 1,000-vote lead. His opponent, BC Liberal John Martin, has already conceded that he had likely lost.

In Langley, the chair of the school board there, Megan Dykeman, has a 793-vote edge over her BC Liberal rival. The Alexis/Gibson battles is much closer, with Alexis trailing by less than 200 votes.

What seems clear, though, is that by-elections will now be required to fill at least a couple Fraser Valley local government seats.

RELATED: An unexpected orange wave hits Chilliwack and Agassiz

RELATED: NDP candidate leads Langley East race

Exactly when those elections happen will be up for the respective local governments; provincial legislation gives each considerable leeway for the timing of by-elections. In Burnaby, where two councillors died over the summer, that municipality is eyeing a by-election for the spring.

But with the next full set of civic elections not slated to occur until 2022, local governments won’t be allowed to wait that long.

By law, a municipality is supposed to appoint a chief election officer “as soon as practicable” after a vacancy occurs. That officer then must set a voting day no later than 80 days after his or her appointment.

Over the spring, the province, which has authority over local governments, deferred by-elections as a result of the pandemic. But it has since issued guidelines to municipalities for how they can conduct safe by-elections during the ongoing pandemic.

Local governments, the province said in a news release “are encouraged to continue working with [Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing] staff to confirm plans and timelines to arrange safe, fair and accessible elections.”

Of the four possible Fraser Valley by-elections, the battle for Coulter’s vacated seat might be the most widely watched.

That board has been split between social progressives and conservatives in recent years, with Coulter, the chair of the board, giving progressives a 4-3 voting edge. The conservative block includes Trustee Barry Neufeld, who has been condemned for his views on LGBT and transgender issues.

RELATED: Chilliwack school trustee apologizes again for social media posts

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

web
Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read