Surrey councillor excused until July

City council votes to give Mary Martin six months' leave to deal with health issues

Surrey Coun. Mary Martin has been granted a six-month leave from council for health reasons.

Surrey Coun. Mary Martin has been granted a six-month leave from council for health reasons.

Surrey council has excused one of its councillors from attending meetings until July.

Coun. Mary Martin has received council approval to take the time off to deal with health issues.

Under the Community Charter Sec. 125 (5), a city councillor is disqualified from office if they miss four meetings, or 60 days (whichever is longer), unless it is because of physical injury, or if they are given leave by council.

Last Monday (Jan. 16), Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner moved that Coun. Martin “be permitted to be absent form regular council meetings, committee meetings and all other municipal meetings from Feb. 6 to July 31.”

Contacted Monday by The Leader, Martin said she was working through some personal health issues.

In her absence, Coun. Tom Gill will take over her position at Metro Vancouver,  Coun. Mike Starchuk will fill in as chair of the Diversity Advisory Committee, Coun. Vera LeFranc will replace her on the Community Health committee, and Hepner will take over her spot on the Mayor’s Gala Committee.

Martin first ran for council unsuccessfully in 2002, then won a seat under the Surrey Electors Team (SET) in 2005. Two years later, she left SET to join Surrey First, a coalition led by then-mayor Dianne Watts (who is now the South Surrey-White Rock MP for the federal Conservatives).

Martin has long-held positions on the city’s health committee, and was instrumental in the passage of a Surrey Smoking Bylaw that restricts where people can light up.

She also pushed for stronger laws around the use of pesticides in Surrey.

Her six-month leave was passed unanimously by council.