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PoCovotes2018: West hits ground running

Port Coquitlam mayor-elect putting plans in place for next four years
Mayor Brad West
Port Coquitlam mayor-elect Brad West had lots to smile about at city hall after scoring an easy victory in Saturday's municipal election. He will replace outgoing Mayor Greg Moore.

After crushing his competition to become the youngest mayor in Port Coquitlam history, Brad West was asked on election night what the first thing he would do as mayor-elect come Monday morning.

“I’ll be taking my son to daycare,” he replied.

“Which,” he said Monday, “is exactly what I did at 7 a.m.”

After completing his first task of the day, the 33-year-old, who has been a PoCo councillor for 10 years, got to work meeting with the rest of council-elect — which includes four incumbents and two newcomers — city staff and outgoing Mayor Greg Moore to put together plans for the next four years.

“We’re hitting the ground running. We’ve got a lot of exciting things on our plate,” West told The Tri-City News.

Scrutinizing the 2019 budget is an immediate priority, he said, along with continuing the process of upgrading of the PoCo recreation complex.

“That’s such a significant project for council and staff, so there’s going to be a lot of work with respect to that,” said West.

Some other issues emerged from the election campaign, he said, including traffic congestion and speeding. He said PoCo’s north-side streets are bearing the brunt of Burke Mountain development in Coquitlam. Housing, he added, continues to be a dominant issue just like it is for the rest of the region.

West welcomed newcomers Steve Darling and Nancy McCurrach to what he calls Team PoCo.

“They both ran very strong campaigns,” said West. “Nancy worked hard. She may have knocked on more doors than all the other candidates combined. Steve is passionate about the community and both of them will be great additions to council.”

He is, however, sad to lose Coun. Mike Forrest, who was defeated after serving on council for 18 years.

“I want to underscore how much I will miss Mike’s voice around the council table. He is Port Coquitlam through and through, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who loves this community more,” West said.

Some political pundits on election night were declaring West as one to watch on the regional political scene with Metro Vancouver and TransLink.

“I’m very much looking forward to being a strong voice for Port Coquitlam at those tables. I really see my job as representing our city at those tables,”  West said, downplaying any regional leadership speculation. “That’s not something that’s on my radar, and something that I’m interested in at this point. I'm a new mayor and I have a lot to learn.”

Unofficially, West received 10,236 votes, which was 88.1% of those cast in the four-way mayoral race. Robin Smith was second (952 votes) followed by Eric Hirvonen (235) and Patrick Alambets (197).

Total voter turnout was 11,904, which was 28% of eligible voters, a 2% increase over 2014.

West will be sworn in Nov. 6 at the new council’s inaugural meeting at Terry Fox Theatre.

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