On election night, Nancy McCurrach made history for herself and Port Coquitlam.
McCurrach was elected to Port Coquitlam city council, snagging the sixth and final spot ahead of 13 other candidates.
Her election, along with that of the top vote getter, incumbent Laura Dupont, means Port Coquitlam for the first time will have more than one woman sitting at the council table.
“I’m very excited about [the fact] we’ve just made history,” said McCurrach. “It’s very important to show diversity, especially in this day and age — to show our daughters that women can be leaders.”
McCurrach unofficially received 5,298 votes, edging out 18-year council veteran Mike Forrest, who placed seventh, by 565 votes. McCurrach said she door knocked up until 6 p.m. on Saturday before going for a walk alone at Blakeburn Lagoons Park to calm herself down.
“The numbers started coming in and I was quite nervous,” said McCurrach, who ran for council unsuccessfully in 2014.
McCurrach said she knows what to expect because she has been an active member of city subcommittees as well as doing presentations to council.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with [mayor-elect] Brad West and the rest of the council. I’m looking forward to the active discussions.”
The other newbie on council is a familiar face, maybe even more so than anyone else on council. Former broadcaster Steve Darling finished fourth with 6,025 votes, just 20 behind incumbent Darrell Penner and 31 behind second-place Coun. Glenn Pollock and well ahead of incumbent Dean Washington (5,563) and McCurrach. Dupont topped the pack with 6,518, which was 462 more than Pollock.
Darling, a former Global TV anchor, ran provincially for the BC Liberals in the May 2017 election in Burnaby Lougheed, losing to Katrina Chen of the NDP by more than 2,500 votes. After a brief stint as a early morning sports-talk radio host for Sportsnet 650, he signed on with Proactive Investors, a business news website, as an online host.
Darling attributed his success to speaking to as many people as he could. He believes his ability to bring all sides together will be an asset on council. He said his journalistic training will help him learn quickly even though he has little background in the minutia of municipal politics.
“There’s obviously going to be learning curve,” said Darling. “I’m like a sponge, I take a lot of the knowledge I get from other people.”
Darling said he wants to work on affordable housing, crime reduction and transit.
Although Mayor Brad West has a long affiliation with the NDP and Darling ran for the BC Liberals, Darling doesn’t think that will affect how they work together.
“Brad and I are on the same page as for the vision for the city,” said Darling. “Honest, that never came up once during the campaign, because to me it’s about the citizens of Port Coquitlam.”
Forrest struggled to describe is reaction to the results.
“A long time of being involved and contributing to your city’s governance. To not be there is a bit of a shocker,” said Forrest. “Everybody could get into speculation about [why he lost]. I don’t know if that helps us going forward.”
Forrest said he felt good about the nearly two decades he spent on council.
“We all should spend time to contribute to our community and that was one way to do that,” said Forrest.
The 70-year-old indicated he probably wouldn’t run again but the time for that decision is about two years from now.
The inaugural council meeting for the new council will be held Nov. 6 at the Terry Fox Theatre.