Another Tri-City mayor won’t run for re-election this fall.
Today (Friday), Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew announced he’ll be retiring after the Oct. 20 race, following 40 years of public service to the village.
“It’s been a long time coming but it’s one of those milestone events in life — I turn 70 in August — and the terms are now four years long so this is probably the right time to go,” he told The Tri-City News.
Drew, who joins Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore as well as the mayors of Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Delta, North Vancouver (district and city), Maple Ridge and White Rock in leaving their civic seats this fall, started his political career as the chair of a committee to study the feasibility of the municipal incorporation.
In July 1979, 300 village residents voted 96% in favour of the proposal. Verna Barrett was elected mayor while Drew, Jim Threlfall, Ted Baxter and Al Beebe were elected aldermen (Drew would take over the top job in 1984).
Today, about 700 residents call Belcarra home.
Drew said he wanted to alert his constituents about his decision before the summer break and give the mayoralty candidates time to campaign. Though he’s not endorsing anyone at this time, Drew noted the lengthy services of village councillors Bruce Drake and Jamie Ross.
Asked what he’ll miss about politics, Drew responded: “The engagement with the people and being part of the regional discussions at the Metro Vancouver table. The Tri-City mayors also have a real sense of camaraderie.”
Still, “I’m feeling very confident in terms of Belcarra’s status and our position moving forward. We have done a lot of work with asset management planning to ensure sustainability. It’s true of every community: If you fail to invest and maintain your infrastructure, it will bite you in the long run.”
An award-winning author, Drew said he’s already working on his next historical book at the request of Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart “who twisted my arm while we were at an RCMP dinner.”
It is titled Coquitlam Chronicles.