Surrey First councillor Mary Martin. (File photo)

Surrey First councillor Mary Martin. (File photo)

Surrey First’s Mary Martin not seeking re-election this fall

Martin has served on Surrey City Council since 2005

Surrey First Councillor Mary Martin won’t be seeking re-election this fall.

She announced her decision in a media release Wednesday.

First elected in 2005, Martin sits on the city’s finance and police committees, chairs Surrey’s Diversity Advisory Committee and Healthy Communities Partnership, and represents Surrey on the board of Metro Vancouver.

In a release, Martin said it has “been a real honour to serve the citizens of Surrey, and to have worked so closely with Linda Hepner and Dianne Watts, two genuinely amazing mayors.”

“At the same time, I have also enjoyed working in collaboration with my Surrey First council colleagues on issues and opportunities that make our city a tremendous place to live, work and raise a family,” she added. “Surrey has certainly changed over the past 13 years, and grown substantially. Families and businesses like what they see here, and that speaks volumes about our city’s potential.”

Martin, who has lived in Surrey more than 20 years, said it was time for her to “focus on her family, and to give others in the community the chance to step up and help shape Surrey in the exciting years ahead.”

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my husband and two little grandsons, but I am not going far,” she added. “I love working with this incredible community and the people who call Surrey home. So, whether it’s as a councillor, or as a community volunteer, I always hope to contribute and help make a difference.”

In a statement, Mayor Linda Hepner thanked Martin for her years of service, particularly her work with community volunteers, and “the countless local organizations committed to building strong neighbourhoods and a healthy community.”

“Mary’s passion for this city is evident in everything she does,” said Hepner. “She has spent every one of her 13 years on council working hard to make Surrey a better city, and I know I speak for the entire community when I thank her for giving so much of her time and talent to the city she loves. Mary’s range of interests and responsibilities, from city finances and healthy neighbourhoods, to regional government and the importance of sport and culture in building connected communities, says a lot about her and the pride she takes in our city.”

Meantime, five Surrey First councillors told the Now-Leader they are considering a mayoral run, after Hepner announced she wouldn’t be seeking re-election: Dave Woods, Vera LeFranc, Tom Gill, Mike Starchuk and Bruce Hayne have expressed interest in the top job.

Surrey First, which currently holds all seats on council, has not officially chosen its mayoral candidate or released a slate of council candidates. It’s expected that will materialize soon.

Former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum and former Surrey First councillor Barinder Rasode — who both ran for mayor unsuccessfully in the 2014 civic election — won’t rule out a mayoral run.

Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, meanwhile, laughed off rumours of a comeback.

“No, I’m not running for mayor,” Watts told the Now-Leader. “Lots of rumours going around.”

Three new slates — Surrey Community Alliance, Proudly Surrey and People First Surrey — have materialized in Surrey that intend to challenge the reigning Surrey First party in the Oct. 20 civic election.

Just over 100,000 people cast a ballot in Surrey in the 2014 civic election, up from 70,253 in 2011. Out of 287,940 eligible Surrey voters, the city said 101,558 cast a ballot – a 35.3 per cent voter turnout. That is up from 2008 and 2011 elections, which saw a 24.1 per cent and 25 per cent turnout respectively.

Surrey voters head to the polls on Oct. 20, 2018.