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North Shore mayor will pursue Metro leadership job
District of North Vancouver mayor Richard Walton is once again seeking a leadership role in the Metro Vancouver regional government.
Walton will vy for vice-chair of the body before a Friday vote between the 37 mayors and councillors that make up the Metro Vancouver board.
Walton was chosen by Metro officials to vice-chair the board after the last round of Metro elections but anticipates some competition for the job from Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie this time around.
“Honestly, I haven’t heard of any other names but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a couple from the floor. A lot of this stuff takes place in the last 24 hours — a lot of phone calls and things,” Walton told The Outlook. “There’s some political discussions between the larger communities that I’m not privy to but it’s a public process.”
Walton said the Metro board is routinely and unfairly labeled an “unelected” body whenever it does unpopular things like hike levies on water and gasoline, but in truth the board is made up of publicly elected mayors and councillors, appointed to the board by their elected councils and headed up by a chair and vice-chair that the Metro mayors and councillors themselves elect.
“We do serve with a tremendous amount of diligence,” Walton said, noting that the job typically requires an extra 20 hours per week on top of his duties as district mayor.
Walton said that because the North Shore is home to major Metro facilities like water and waste treatment, it’s important that the region has a strong voice at the table.
“The last time round we didn’t have a representative on the solid waste committee and yet we have the main facility on the North Shore, plus the site for the new sewage treatment plant as well. So I’m going to work very hard this time to try to get a district councillor on that committee.”
Mayor Walton is also chair of the Mayors’ Council on Transportation — often referred to as the TransLink board — and said he is considering running again for the top spot on the board when the job comes up on Jan. 16.
“We agreed as mayors in the last meeting to leave those elections until after all the Metro appointments have been made,” Walton said, adding that whether or not he pursues the transportation leadership role will depend on who chairs the Metro board and what they would require of their vice-chair, were he elected.