Long-time councillor Patricia Ross topped the polls in Abbotsford on Saturday for the fifth consecutive municipal election.
Ross, who was first elected to office in a byelection in 1994, pulled in 14,852 votes – almost 3,000 more than the 11,955 votes that went to second-place finisher Les Barkman.
“(I’m) very, very honoured and privileged that they voted me there, and determined to work very hard to deserve that,” Ross said of the results.
Four of the eight council seats went to new candidates – all from the new AbbotsfordFirst slate – and Ross said she is excited about this change.
“They’re good people and I think we’ve got a really good blend of experience and new.”
She said is also looking forward to working with newly elected mayor Henry Braun, who defeated current mayor Bruce Banman by only 1.82 per cent of the votes.
Ross and Braun have been on council together for the last three years, since he was first elected as a councillor in 2011.
“Henry’s a good man. He’s a very, very hard worker; a man of real integrity. I know he’s going to make a great mayor,” Ross said.
She said she did not like some of the tactics that were used in the election campaign, including the formation of fake websites and Twitter accounts that bad-mouthed some of the candidates.
“It’s always disappointing to see that in politics and I long for the day when that doesn’t happen anymore, but I do take heart in the fact that most of us were definitely taking the high road. We’re very supportive of each other, very encouraging, very friendly.”
She said having four years, instead of the previous three, before a new council is elected will provide more opportunity for the mayor and councillors to “get things accomplished.”
Ross said among the first priorities for the new council will be budget deliberations, and she said one of her personal goals will be to continue to fight Metro Vancouver’s plans to build incinerators.
Ross has been a vocal opponent of the proposal to build a waste-to-energy trash incinerator in the Lower Mainland, saying it will cause detrimental harm to the fragile Fraser Valley air shed.
Ross served as the only woman at the council table for the previous three years, but is now joined by three others – Brenda Falk, Kelly Chahal and Sandra Blue, all from the AbbotsfordFirst slate.