Burnaby city hall will be down a councillor until the next municipal election in October 2018.
At Monday night’s council meeting, a motion was passed to grant Coun. Anne Kang an unpaid leave of absence until Jan. 2, 2018, after which time a byelection will no longer be required under the Local Government Act.
Kang ran for the B.C. NDP during the provincial election and won the seat in Burnaby-Deer Lake, replacing now-retired NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan.
“I know we’re all going to miss Coun. Anne Kang and her contributions to council and to the committees, and certainly to the community,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan. “She’s committed to working very closely with the council and trying to accomplish some of our goals.”
Corrigan noted one of the first requests he’s put on Kang’s agenda is getting a new hospital, something B.C. NDP leader John Horgan promised during his run for premier.
In April, Horgan said he’d fix up the current facility and then spend $2.1 billion to replace it (part of the New Democrat’s $10-billion capital plan). However, details around where the new hospital would be built and what would happen to the existing one are unknown.
The main reason for granting Kang’s leave of absence was that it would have been too expensive to hold a byelection, according to Corrigan, who cited a $750,000 price tag.
“We’re a little less than a year and a half out (until the next municipal election),” he said. “We just didn’t think it was worthwhile.”
Over in Victoria, the confidence of the house will be tested on Thursday. If the New Democrats and the Greens defeat the B.C. Liberals in the vote, Premier Christy Clark is expected to visit Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon to offer her resignation. Clark has said she’ll leave it up to Guichon to decide whether to ask Horgan to govern or send British Columbians back to the polls.