After several months serving as both Pemberton’s mayor and the MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, Jordan Sturdy has decided it’s time to focus primarily on his provincial duties.
Sturdy, who has held the mayor’s chair since 2005, announced at last week’s council meeting that he intends to resign from the post sometime in February. An official letter of resignation is expected to appear before council at its Jan. 21 meeting.
The B.C. Legislature will be back in session between Feb. 11 and the end of May, which means Sturdy will be spending the majority of his time in Victoria for the next several months.
“It just seemed the right thing to do as we go back into session,” Sturdy said in an interview with The Question on Friday (Jan. 10), at which time he had not finalized his official end date. However, he is expected to chair two more council meetings before his departure.
Because the period for a byelection has passed, the four other members of council will rotate through acting mayor’s duties as scheduled for the remainder of the term.
Sturdy was elected MLA in May last year, and other than a one-month, unpaid leave of absence in July, has continued serving as mayor since. He had wished to avoid a byelection, believing one would be “disruptive,” and also help lead the village through a period with many key initiatives ongoing.
“I thought long and hard about this and I do it with some regret,” Sturdy said of his departure. “All of the initiatives are really coming to a head right now — be it the Friendship Trail, or be it the recreation funding referendum, the Pemberton Festival and all the requirements and permitting that we’ll have to look at there, governance and boundaries. There’s a lot going on and it’s difficult.”
Sturdy said he feels as though he was able to do both jobs effectively during the time serving dual roles, adding that he’s found the positions to be somewhat “complementary.”
“The MLA’s role is a different perspective but an extension of what you do as an elected official in local government,” he said. “I don’t see them as being in conflict at all, and that’s certainly not been my experience, anyway.
“I’ve been able to bring additional insight into things where I have a better understanding of provincial priorities and constraints, and it helps us be realistic as well.”
The local farmer reiterated his comments at the council table last week, stating that the current group of staff at the Village of Pemberton led by chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland is “the best team that I have ever seen.” He added that he has full confidence that the remaining councillors will do a good job governing the community in his absence.
“The dynamic is going to change, obviously. I am not a particularly reticent mayor,” Sturdy said with a laugh. “When the dynamic changes from five personalities to four, different ideas will come forward and it will be different, there’s no question about that. But I have every confidence that that group, between council and staff, is going to be quite capable of handling affairs successfully.
“I’m sure these guys are going to do a great job.”