Councillor not certain he'll vacate seat

Hamilton now MLA in Delta North

Veteran civic councillor Scott Hamilton says he still has to decide whether to resign his Delta council seat following his provincial election victory in Delta North.

Hamilton won Delta North back for the Liberals last Tuesday, edging NDP challenger Sylvia Bishop, who is also a Delta councillor.

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Guy Gentner had held the seat for the NDP, but retired after two terms.

With the next municipal election not scheduled until November 2014, it appeared there was no doubt a by-election would take place, however, that might not be the case.

Hamilton said he wants to see whether he could continue to hold the seat until sometime early next year, thus avoiding the need for Delta to hold a by-election.

Hamilton, a four-term councillor, said he has to talk with fellow council members and also see what his Liberal caucus has to say.

"It's just so early right now. I don't mind waiting and finding out what everyone has to say. I'd also want to see how the community feels about it," he said.

There may be some consideration for relaxing legislation for when a by-election is automatically triggered, Hamilton noted, pointing to other civic politicians who were elected as MLAs this week.

"You've got the mayor of Penticton, you've got the mayor of Pemberton, you've got the mayor of Langley City, you've got (Surrey councillor) Marvin Hunt, myself, all been elected.

There are probably others. They're (the by-elections) all costly, so it may be that Victoria has something to say how we go forward."

Hamilton stressed he wouldn't take both salaries if he remained in both jobs, saying he'd happily giving one to charity.

"That would be the ultimate in double-dipping and I wouldn't do that," he said.

Hamilton said he'll likely make a decision in the next week or so, adding if he were to step down, it wouldn't be until late June or early July at the earliest.

Should he stick around until next year, Hamilton said he would continue to attend meetings either in person or by phone, working hard to continue to pull his weight.

The biggest issue council is currently dealing with is the proposed Southlands development. If council grants preliminary approval to the application in the coming weeks, a public hearing would be held in the fall.

If Hamilton does vacate his council seat, the public hearing for the Southlands wouldn't take place until after the by-election.

sgyarmati@delta-optimist.com

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