Councillor Bruce Hayne The Top Contender To Seek Surrey Mayorship After Hepner Forced Out

Bruce Hayne3

Desibuzzbc-Banner-Metrics-FinalBruce HayneTuesday’s announcement that Surrey mayor Linda Hepner will not seek re-election to Surrey's top job in the fall was long coming as pressure had been building for weeks for Hepner to bow out of civic politics to make room for councillor Bruce Hayne and others from the party to run as the mayoral candidate. Hayne leads the pack that may include fellow councillors Mike Starchuk, Tom Gill and Vera LeFranc.

SURREY – Tuesday’s announcement that Surrey mayor Linda Hepner will not seek re-election to Surrey's top job in the fall was long coming as pressure had been building for weeks for Hepner to bow out of civic politics to make room for councillor Bruce Hayne and others from the party to run as the mayoral candidate.

Hepner calls it quits after four years as mayor, nine years as a councillor and two decades as a senior staffer.

Bruce-Linda"During my time with Surrey, the city has evolved from a modest suburb into the region’s second metropolitan centre and a globally recognized leading edge city," she said.

"I am very proud to have contributed to this transformation, but there will always be more to do, more to achieve and, therefore, there is never an ideal time to leave."

While she told the media that choice to bow out was difficult to make, but ultimately, she's deciding to dedicate more time to family and friends. On Wednesday morning, she said concerns for her health also factored into her decision.

But that was a show for the media as there had been much pressure on her to step aside as she was not seen as a winnable candidate for the party that is facing a number of issues and a challenge from their civic competition the Surrey Community Alliance.

The party was also not happy when Hepner announced two months ago she intended to run again without consulting with the party but she also cited health reasons like a recent biopsy for making it official that she will not be running.

"While they turned out to be not important at all, it really gave me pause and I really just thought, 'What is it that I need for the rest of my life?'" she said at a news conference.

"It was the catalyst for the kind of deep soul searching that I had to do over the last couple of months."

She added that she will turn 70 in May, and that she wants to spend more time with her grandchildren.

And while some speculated her decision was due to pressure within the party, Hepner denied that there is any truth to the rumours of discord among members of Surrey First.

"I've got great team players… I don't think you could find a better group of independent thinkers that have all coalesced to do the best that is for the City of Surrey," she said.

She thanked city staff and the citizens of Surrey for their work, support and trust.

"It has been an honour and privilege to serve you and the City of Surrey," she said.

When Hepner made the announcement, some wondered whether former mayor Dianne Watts would throw her hat in the ring. But on Wednesday, Watts, who recently failed in her bid for the provincial Liberal party leadership told CTV News she does not intend to run again, and plans to find work in the private sector.

Aside from Hayne, Councillors Tom Gill and Mike Starchuk say they've not ruled out running for mayor. But it would be difficult for Gill as he has faced criticism over using City resources to fight a legal battle with a local Indo-Canadian developer after the developer filed defamation charges on Giill.

Bruce Hayne2Aside from Hayne, Councillors Tom Gill and Mike Starchuk say they've not ruled out running for mayor. But it would be difficult for Gill as he has faced criticism over using City resources to fight a legal battle with a local Indo-Canadian developer after the developer filed defamation charges on Giill.

Vera LeFranc said she was also considering a mayoral run, and Dave Woods said he was looking at a number of options.

Hepner is the latest in a line of Lower Mainland mayors who've announced they will not seek re-election.

In January, Vancouver's Gregor Robertson announced he'd be stepping down after serving three terms in office.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Langley Mayor Ted Schaffer have all said this term will be their last.

North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton and the City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto will also be stepping down before the fall election.

With Files from CTV News

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