Coun. Bill Dingwall has frequently served as the official opposition on Pitt Meadows city council, and now he will seek the mayor’s chair.
On Tuesday, Dingwall officially announced his intention to run for mayor in this year’s municipal elections, scheduled for Oct. 20.
“It’s about winning back that trust and confidence of our citizens,” said Dingwall.
The 61-year-old former RCMP superintendent, a 28-year resident of Pitt Meadows, said council has lost the public’s confidence over a number of issues.
One was over former city councillor David Murray, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13 or 14-year-old girl 25 years ago.
Dingwall said council “dropped the ball” on that issue right from the time criminal charges were sworn, through the conviction in court, and including the decision to not replace Murray with a council byelection.
Dingwall said he will push for a professional code of conduct for all elected officials in the province.
He also said councillors were wrong to get involved with the Pitt Meadows Community Foundation, which was run by volunteers for years. But at the last annual general meeting, a quorum of councillors and their spouses “took it over.”
Dingwall has voted opposite the majority of council on the issue of Onni’s South Bonson Business Park development. Its rezoning bylaws have now been given third reading, sent back to Onni, and will come back to council for fourth reading.
Dingwall said he has been sympathetic to a public that would rather see commercial or residential buildings, and presented council with a petition of 1,600 names opposing the final two phases – three and four – of the warehouse development.
He said the official community plan, which will be reviewed in the coming year, is a process to deal with these land use issues.
“I’m not happy with some of the decisions – some of them are troubling to me,” Dingwall said of his term on council.
He will also seek to rebuild the relationship between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. The two cities have traditionally partnered in policing, parks and recreation, operation of the airport, tourism and many other areas, but over this past council term the relationship has suffered, Dingwall said.
He is not in favour of amalgamating the two cities, but said “our families move back and forth between both communities. We’re attached at the hip – not just geographically, but socially.”
Dingwall’s mayoralty campaign will be managed by regular council watcher Patricia Gordon. She is part of a group of citizens who have encouraged him to run for mayor, he said.
Dingwall is in his first term on council. He topped the polls in the 2014 election with 2,417 votes, although five other members of council had more than 2,000.
Becker said he has not yet made a decision whether to run for a second term as mayor. Becker will consult with his family, work colleagues, some council colleagues and people who are actively engaged in the community before deciding.
He will make decide by May, and feels that much advance notice is respectful of the election process.
“If the Sedins can make their decision, I can,” said Becker.