Delta by-election not needed as new MLA granted leave from council

Delta won’t be going through a costly by-election to fill Scott Hamilton’s council seat.

Mayor Lois Jackson has announced that Hamilton, who won the riding of Delta North for the Liberals in last month’s provincial election, has been granted his request for a leave. It takes effect from June 17 of this year to Jan. 7, 2014. After that, he’ll officially step down, but it will be close enough to the November 2014 civic election so that a by-election won’t be required.

Although he is also stepping down from his committee appointments, Hamilton still intends to take part in as many council meetings as he can, especially to ensure council has a quorum. Hamilton will not be paid during this period.

Coun. Robert Campbell said it ensures taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for a by-election that can cost over $200,000.

Coun. Sylvia Bishop voted in opposition, saying she’s not sure Delta can be well served without a full council. She ran for the NDP against Hamilton in Delta North.

Delta is already the largest city in the province to only have six councillors, and Hamilton’s absence will leave Delta with essentially five until late next year.

Following last month’s election, Premier Christy Clark asked several of her newly elected MLAs, who were also civic politicians, to take leaves of absence from their council jobs to avoid by-elections.