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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announced on Wednesday that he won't be seeking another term, when the city holds its next municipal election in October.
"Today I announce one of the hardest decisions of my life. This will be my last term as mayor of Vancouver," Robertson said in a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter.
It's been an incredible honour to serve our city through such historic and challenging times. After lots of consideration with friends + family over the holidays, I’ve decided this will be last term as Mayor. My statement here: https://t.co/2EQkwMFHRm#vanpoli— Gregor Robertson (@gregorrobertson) January 10, 2018
Proud of how Vancouver has become one of the most liveable, green, innovative and prosperous cities in the world. 10 years is a long time in politics. Important part of leadership is knowing when it’s time to make room for new voices/leaders. #vanpoli— Gregor Robertson (@gregorrobertson) January 10, 2018
Next ten months, still lots to do. 2 big priorities: landing Broadway Subway and better transit for all of Metro; getting more affordable rental/co-op/social housing built in all neighbourhoods across the city #vanpoli— Gregor Robertson (@gregorrobertson) January 10, 2018
Robertson said he "made this bittersweet choice" after speaking with family and friends to reflect on his future. First elected in 2008, Robertson won with 54 per cent of the vote and continued to win three consecutive terms campaigning on a progressive agenda.
"I think it was a tough choice for him," said Mike Magee, who worked as the Vancouver mayor's chief of staff from 2008 to October 2016. Magee said Robertson helped change Vancouver's future through policies such as the Greenest City 2020 initiative and efforts to support renewable energy initiatives.
"I think the city has fundamentally changed for the positive," Magee said. "If you remember 2008, he came in after the city's nastiest strike, labour relations were horrible, there was a recession, Olympic Village was in major trouble, there was a gang war....Vancouver has since become a global model that other cities are trying to emulate. He's been a great mayor for the city."
City Councillor Raymond Louie noted the mayor's "10 years of incredible service" and said next steps for Robertson's succession would begin at the the next annual general meeting of the party, which is scheduled for next week.
Read Robertson's full statement here:
Today I announce one of the hardest decisions of my life. This will be my last term as Mayor of Vancouver - I won’t be seeking re-election on October 20.
I took time with family and friends over the holidays to reflect on my future and made this bittersweet choice.
I love Vancouver and our amazing people. I love serving our city as Mayor. When I finish my third term later this year, the decade in office will be the longest consecutive run as Mayor in Vancouver's history. Ten years is a long time in politics. An important part of leadership is recognizing when to step aside to make space for new leaders.
I dove into politics as an entrepreneur committed to making positive proactive change. It's been an incredible honour to serve our city through such historic and challenging times. Thanks to our bold, collective efforts over the past 10 years, Vancouver is now widely recognized as one of the most liveable, green, innovative and prosperous cities in the world.
Vancouver was struggling when I first ran for mayor in 2008 and we've faced extraordinary challenges since then - from the global recession and a regional gang war to the affordability and homeless crisis that is impacting many leading cities around the world. Time and again, the people of Vancouver raised our game to meet these challenges head-on.
We were first in North America to become a City of Reconciliation, working in deep partnership with Indigenous peoples. We helped lead the global fight against climate change. We successfully hosted the 2010 Games. We built the strongest city economy in Canada.
We never shied away from tackling the toughest issues. We didn’t back down from opening homeless shelters, warming centers, modular or supportive housing to help our most vulnerable residents. We made Vancouver a city that speaks out forcefully against racism, homophobia and transphobia. We’ve led the national effort to fight for health-focused drug policy and saving lives in the opioid overdose crisis.
We've made great progress towards being the world's greenest city, we’ve built a creative, resilient economy with leading edge tech and innovation, and become a much safer city. We’ve done more to protect and build affordable housing than any city in the country but we must continue to work tirelessly to end homelessness, and keep pressure on other levels of government to work with us and do their part.
We endured many years with those governments ignoring their responsibilities on critical urban issues. As Chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors and TransLink’s Mayors Council, I pushed hard with Mayors locally and across Canada to see our provincial and federal governments re-engage with cities.
Together, we’ve made big progress. With recently elected BC and Federal governments now committed to urban agendas, we’re finally seeing long-awaited funding for affordable housing, transit, child care and green infrastructure. And we’re seeing long-overdue changes to drug policy, campaign finance reform, and renters’ rights.
I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments and I will work hard to see that bold action continue. It’s only been possible due to everyone's contributions - my heartfelt thanks to my Council and Vision colleagues, City staff, volunteers, supporters, and citizens in our diverse neighbourhoods. My personal appeal to you all: please continue to step up and do your part to make Vancouver the greatest city in the world.
Because the challenges keep coming at us. We face daunting issues like climate change, homelessness, and mental health and addictions. The much-needed breakthroughs on these fronts will require a passionate, engaged community and bold, progressive leadership at City Hall for the years to come.
I’m fired up for the rest of the term. Over the next ten months, I’ll be focused on securing funding for the Broadway Subway and transit projects across the region, taking aggressive action to approve record levels of affordable housing, and creating even more vibrant public spaces on par with the new Arbutus Greenway and Jim Deva Plaza.
I'm very excited about the 2018 election and electing diverse new leaders. A decade of collective passion and hard work has prepared Vancouver as a launchpad for the next generation of dynamic leadership. I will work hard to elect a renewed Vision team that is open to cooperate with anyone on an ambitious, progressive agenda.
It’s been the greatest honour of my life to serve this extraordinary city, and help make Vancouver an inspiration to people and cities around the world. Thank you for this opportunity, for your constant feedback and your support.
Every day, Vancouverites continue to demonstrate their love for each other, our city, and our planet. We are blessed to live here. With a relentlessly positive approach to politics and government, Vancouver can be an even greater city for us all, and for future generations.
Take care, Gregor