2014-09-05: Election 2014, incumbent mayor faces challenge

Announced this week, two local articles below.

Mike Clay vs. Gaetan Royer for mayor of Port Moody
by Sarah Payne – The Tri-City News
posted Sep 4, 2014 at 5:00 PM

A former Port Moody chief administrator is going for another job at city hall: the mayor’s.

Gaetan Royer announced Wednesday he plans to seek the top chair in the Nov. 15 civic election, stating he’ll offer PoMo residents a “better plan” for the future by revamping the official community plan.

“Port Moody is approaching a critical time, with a lot of things that are going to be happening in the next few years once the Evergreen Line is completed,” Royer said.

He’ll be up against current PoMo Mayor Mike Clay, who has held the job since 2011 (he was also elected as a councillor in 2005 and 2008).

“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in this city,” Clay told The Tri-City News yesterday, confirming his intention to seek the top office again. “We’ve spent a long time talking about our OCP and we’ve had stuff backing up behind that that needs to get done, particularly in advance of the Evergreen Line.”

Among the to-do list items are updating the zoning bylaw and planning for densification around the SkyTrain stations that will be operating by the summer of 2016.

Royer, who is married to Zoë Royer, a current PoMo councillor who has not yet formally announced whether she will seek re-election, expressed concern the OCP does not contain measurable numbers that would “protect taxpayers” and that too many decisions appear to have been improvised.

“My record is one of analyzing situations and making sure we connect all the dots before making decisions,” Royer said. “We were very close to a vision that the community would be able to support… but there are numbers missing in the plan. There are words but no numbers.”

Changes made to the draft OCP earlier this year include removing references to building density and height limits for the city’s waterfront, and reverting it back to a special study area. As well, Coronation Park will undergo a neighbourhood plan process to determine the appropriate density for that area.

Royer wants to see an OCP that sets “clear limits” and would protect environmentally sensitive lands, provide better transportation and an expanded Rocky Point Park.

“We need access to the waterfront at the same time that any development takes place in any proximity to Rocky Point Park, and that would be on the Mill and Timber site,” Royer said.

The nearly 15-acre site is in a sort of limbo; PoMo council has asked that it remain industrial but be designated a special study area that could be up for development sometime in the future. Metro Vancouver, however, wants the city to change the land’s designation from industrial to general urban because of the mixed-use “oceanfront district” description in the draft OCP.

Clay, who grew up in Port Moody and is an IT consultant, said there is little appetite among Port Moody residents to revamp the OCP.

“I think there are about 10 people who want to do that and the other 32,000 people are saying eight years is long enough. We need to get on with implementing the visions in the OCP and not endlessly talking about a plan.”

Royer has a background in architecture and held management positions in Surrey and Whitehorse before moving to Port Moody in 2000 as the director of community services, eventually becoming city manager. He left in 2011 to work for Metro Vancouver’s parks department before leaving in early 2013 work as a consultant.



Royer to take on Clay for Port Moody mayor
Jeremy Deutsch / Tri-Cities Now

September 4, 2014 04:35 PM

From Port Moody’s top bureaucrat to the city’s top politician. That’s what Gaetan Royer is hoping to do, as the former city manager announced his plans to run for mayor of Port Moody in this fall’s civic election.

He is the first mayoral candidate in the race to challenge incumbent Mike Clay.

Royer said he decided to run out of growing frustration with aspects of the city’s official community plan (OCP).

And when he spoke to people at OCP community meetings who he thought would make good candidates for the job, they suggested he run instead.

“I want to run to represent a better plan and to have an opportunity to present a vision for what’s going to happen over the next four years,” he said.

“This is a critical time that we’re entering.”

Royer noted as city manager he was intimately involved in plans that helped the community leverage development to create new amenities like the recreation centre and improvements to Rocky Point Park.

He said the investments were made because a good plan was in place to share in revenues developers were making, but argued that is not the case with the current OCP and it needs to go back in to the document.

As for his competition, Royer, who left his position at the city in 2011 for a job as head planner at Metro Vancouver, called Clay a “nice person” and his “folksy approach” a “good thing.”

“What I’m going to be talking about is the fact I can sit at the table with various agencies and collaborate and gain people’s respect and be very effective in working with partners and working with agencies for the City of Port Moody,” he said.

Royer added that he has a record of “getting things done” at the regional level that would be an asset to the city.

“At this point in time we have almost no profile at the regional level,” he said.

Royer left his position at Metro Vancouver in 2013 to do research on a book and start a consulting business.

Clay, who won his seat as mayor in 2011 after collecting 3,112 votes, said he hasn’t thought much about his potential opponents in the race.

“I’m continuing to offer my ideas and service to the people of Port Moody. If other people are, they’ll stand on their own merits,” he said.

Clay said the city has made a lot of changes in how it consults with the public in the last three years, and he wants to continue that work in a second term.

“In three years we’ve made a lot of changes and it’s all been positive, in my opinion,” he said.

As for the type of mayor’s race Port Moody residents are likely to see this fall, Clay said he expects someone to run in opposition to something he does, or thinks is a good idea to do.

He suggested his opponent wants to reopen the OCP, but the mayor said he wants to nail down the document and start working with developers to make the vision a reality.

“I see the OCP as a vision document, where other people like Gaetan see it as a prescriptive rule book for what the city looks like,” he said.

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