#POCOvotes2018: It's Mayor West for Port Coquitlam

Mike Forrest, a longtime councillor, loses his seat while Steve Darling and Nancy McCurrach are new to council.

Brad West is the youngest mayor in the history of Port Coquitlam.

Tonight (Saturday), the 33-year-old former councillor trounced his three opponents to clinch the top job previously held by Mayor Greg Moore, who did not run for re-election.

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The city’s youngest councillor at the age of 23, West ran his mayoral campaign on a #MadeinPoCo platform, focusing on housing affordability, safety and family friendly policies.

Speaking from the PoCo Legion, a jubilant West told voters via The Tri-City News: “This is the honour of my life. I love Port Coquitlam. I have lived here my whole life and I will do my best as your mayor.”

Besides being elected the city's youngest mayor ever, West also took the highest number of votes ever cast for a mayoral candidate, with 10,236 ballots (results are preliminary); by comparison, Moore scored 8,632 votes in 2014.

West said he looks forward to getting down to business, setting the next budget as well as tackling the Kwikwetlem First Nation land claim and rebuilding the community recreation complex. He also promised to bring forward a policy change for city council’s consideration to increase the number of lounge seats in PoCo microbreweries.

West also congratulated the newly elected Steve Darling, the former Global TV news anchor who took a council seat, and Nancy McCurrach, who edged out longtime Coun. Mike Forrest by 565 votes. In 2014, McCurrach placed seventh, trailing incumbent Dean Washington by 811 votes.

West paid tribute to Forrest, saying he has been in important voice on council. “Mike leaves a significant legacy in Port Coquitlam… and I will be sorry to see him go.”

As for his direction as the city’s political leader, West said he wants to ensure council discussions remain respectful. “That’s one of the reasons I ran,” he said. “I want to build on the relationship and continue on that path. I think it serves us all well.”

For his challengers — Robin Smith, who took 952 votes; Eric Hirvonen, who gained 235 votes; and Patrick Alambets, who received 197 votes — West had this to say: “My advice to them would be, I think, Port Coquitlam residents want to see people running who are positive and care about our community. Being negative isn’t something that works here.”

Click here to see the city of Port Coquitlam unofficial election results.

jcleugh@tricitynews.com

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