With 69.5 percent of the vote, Richard Stewart is set to serve his final term as Coquitlam’s mayor – again.
Stewart had previously indicated that he would step away from the mayor’s chair after 2022. However, citing the need to reduce stigma around mental health, Stewart announced his plans to run for re-election in late August.
“I really want to complete that work, and I know of hundreds of local leaders across the province who want to see it completed,” he wrote. Stewart also emphasized the need to tackle the housing crisis while providing amenities such as the new community centres at Maillardville and Burquitlam.
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Each of Coquitlam’s six incumbent candidates were re-elected and are now set to be joined by newcomers Matt Djonlic and Robert Mazzarolo.
- Richard Stewart
- Craig Hodge
- Teri Towner
- Matt Djonlic
- Steve Kim
- Brent Asmundson
- Robert Mazzarolo
- Trish Mandewo
- Dennis Marsden
Across the street from city hall, 9,000 votes away from the mayor’s chair
The crowd of volunteers and well-wishers at Adel Gamar’s campaign headquarters in downtown Coquitlam burst into applause as their mayoral candidate walked into the room.
“I never imagined this,” he said, slowly circling the room to chat with friends, family and supporters. “My parents always said: ‘Don’t talk about politics.’”
That aversion to discussing politics stemmed from his father’s days as a Gadaffi dissident in Libya. But on Saturday Gamar’s father was beside his son, smiling, shaking hands and thanking volunteers.
“My biggest concern is disappointing you,” Gamar told the crowd.
“We’d do it all over again,” a volunteer called back.
The mood at Gamar’s headquarters was ebullient until about 9 p.m. Conversations hushed as heads bowed to look at cellphones. The early results trickled in. Someone said, “Same as last time,” and for a moment it was like a plug was pulled and the fun was let out of the room.
After getting the results, Gamar thanked his wife and daughters.
“You get to see more of me now,” he promised.
“This campaign has been about this beautiful city of ours. It’s a multi-generational, multi-lingual, multi-cultural city,” he told the crowd. “We don’t see that representation because, I have to be honest with you, it’s not easy running. . . You knock on the door and sometimes it’s not that easy.”
Gamar said he called and left a congratulatory message for Stewart.
“I encourage you to lend your support to Mr. Stewart because he is the rightfully elected mayor,” Gamar said.
Gamar wound up the night by encouraging his supporters to consider running and listening to his volunteers talk about living in Coquitlam – where they feel welcome and where they don’t.
“There’s so much work to do,” Gamar said.
Voter turnout: 20.3 percent
Discussing the election, Gamar seemed to have an easier time accepting the loss than the voter turnout.
“The people don’t even know the decisions that are being made at city hall,” he said. “How do we inform people and allow people the opportunity to see the decisions that are made at city hall are so vital.”
Incumbent Craig Hodge topped all council candidates with more than 10,000 votes. Dennis Marsden notched the eighth seat on council with 8,702 votes – comfortably ahead of Harvey Su, who ended in ninth place with 7,238 votes.
Following the race, Marsden congratulated everyone who put their name forward and welcomed Djonlic and Mazzarolo.
“Obviously I’m happy to see the return of a collaborative, positive council,” Marsden wrote.
Out of office
Councillor Chris Wilson opted not to seek re-election while MP Bonita Zarillo, made the move from municipal to national politics in the 2021 federal election.
With 5.000 votes, outgoing Port Moody councillor Zoe Royer fell short of winning a spot on Coquitlam council. However, with 4.400 votes, Royer is set to represent Port Moody alongside Lisa Park as a school trustee.
Coquitlam elected Jennifer Blatherwick, Carol Cahoon, Craig Woods and Chuck Denison to the school board. In Port Coquitlam, both Christine Pollock and Michael Thomas were acclaimed.