White Rock’s newest city councillor received a hearty standing ovation Monday, following his swearing-in at city hall.
But Bill Lawrence was quickly – and lightheartedly – cautioned against expecting more of the same anytime soon.
“So take your place over there and savour the moment because that may be your last standing ovation,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin quipped, to much laughter.
Lawrence won the seat by collecting 620 votes in the Nov. 3 byelection, beating out eight other candidates. The vote was necessitated by the June 26 death of longtime councillor Mary-Wade Anderson.
A number of former White Rock mayors turned out Monday to wish Lawrence well: Judy Forster, Hardy Staub and Gordon Hogg, who is the current Surrey-White Rock MLA. The ceremony opened with the singing of O Canada by well-known local soprano Miriah Reitmeier.
Following the swearing-in, which was conducted by Judge Gary Cohen, Lawrence said he has no illusions that the road ahead will be easy.
But, “I’m up to the challenge,” he said.
The businessman described his byelection win as the result of “a lot of hard work.” It was his third run at a seat on council.
He is not planning to immediately target any particular city issue.
“My main focus is to get my feet wet,” he said.
That happened in short order Monday.
Lawrence cast his first official vote within minutes of taking his oath, in favour of adjourning the special meeting held to welcome him aboard.
Following a reception in the city hall lobby, he joined his fellow council members in a closed meeting.
The group then returned to chambers for the scheduled land-use and planning committee meeting, which was followed by the conclusion of one other matter on the agenda for the special council meeting.