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Kirk LaPointe loses but NPA gains council and board seats

Vision loses majorities on school and park boards

In his Nov 15 concession speech, NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe called his victorious opponent, Vision incumbent Gregor Robertson, a “real role model” in terms of his “commitment to his priorities.”  Credit: Shimon Karmel

Kirk LaPointe of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) conceded defeat to Vision Vancouver rival Gregor Robertson late on Nov 15 when it became apparent the now three-term incumbent mayor was pulling away with a lead of almost 10,000 votes.

“I wished him congratulations,” LaPointe said to boos from the crowd. “I wish him well. I consider it a real signature accomplishment that someone can win three races in a row in a city like this. It’s a very challenging city to run.”

LaPointe called Robertson, who ultimately won by 10,086 votes, a “real role model” in terms of his “commitment to his priorities.” He also praised third-place mayoral candidate Meena Wong, of the Coalition of Progressive Electors.

“The campaign did not always bring out the best in us, but it did deliver a clarity of choice,” he said.

The NPA now holds power on the park board with four out of seven seats, compared to just two seats in the last election. It also gained an additional seat on council, to hold three of its 10 seats, and an additional seat on the school board, to split power there four seats to four with Vision, with the Green Party taking the ninth seat.

LaPointe told his supporters that the NPA is ready to work with Vision to move the city forward.

His supporters were fairly quiet as they gathered at NPA election-night headquarters at the Hotel Vancouver, where campaign officials spoke in hushed tones and were quietly optimistic as the extended voting hours wore on and results began to trickle in. As the mayoral results turned decidedly in Robertson’s favour by 10pm and LaPointe continued to lag, the room became noticeably subdued.

NPA executive director Natasha Westover reassured CTV shortly after that the evening was far from over, with a number of larger polls yet to come. That livened up the room, but the reversal never came. Still, supporters cheered as LaPointe and the NPA candidates entered and the party faithful gathered before the stage, some with tears in their eyes.

Gay West End resident Rob McDowell had put his name forward for council but finished 15th, with 53,965 votes. “It’s been a wonderful experience,” he told Xtra. “We can move forward as a community.”

He says the issues of housing for LGBT seniors and ensuring the new queer community centre gets a space are now firmly on the table. Qmunity was allotted $7 million by the city for a new queer community centre in Vancouver in November 2013. “This was an issue of some concern that needs to be addressed,” McDowell says.

The votes played out for the queer community in differing ways across the city. Robertson took the West End, while LaPointe took Yaletown in a tight race. Robertson took both major polls in the Commercial Drive area, at Trout Lake and Britannia Community Centre. Wong came a very distant second to Robertson at Britannia.

Vision had held the reins on city council, the school board and the park board prior to the vote.

A total of 181,707 ballots were cast in Vancouver out of an elegible 483,644 voters, according to Civic Info BC, for a voter turnout of 37.6 percent. That’s a three percent increase in voter turnout from the last municipal election, in 2011, which saw 144,823 ballots cast out of a possible 418,878 eligible voters, for a 34.6 percent turnout.

According to the City of Vancouver’s chief electoral officer, the official final turnout, released on Nov 19, was 43.4 percent of the 415,978 registered voters, including those who registered during the 2014 election period.