NEWS
11/20/2011 01:12 EST | Updated 01/19/2012 05:12 EST

Gregor Robertson re-elected mayor of Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Gregor Robertson has been re-elected to a second term as mayor of Vancouver, but the hold his Vision Vancouver party has had on city council has been reduced.

The Non-Partisan Association appeared headed to at least two seats, possibly three, on the 10-seat council, up from the single seat the party held in the last term.

The NPA had spent months attacking Robertson for weak leadership over his handling of the Occupy Vancouver protest and the way the city managed events leading up to the Stanley Cup riot.

Suzanne Anton, who held the lone NPA seat in the last council, lost to Robertson by at least 18,000 votes.

She conceded defeat Saturday by saying she was disappointed, but heartened that the party increased its strength inside the council chambers.

"There will be more balance now at city hall. I must say, being there with nobody to second your motions was a challenging position," she said to laughter.

"It did mean that things like the Stanley Cup riot didn't get debated and the Occupy Vancouver didn't get debated. Now there will be debate at city hall."

Vancouver's reluctance to try someone new in the mayor's chair was repeated throughout the province. Incumbents were widely re-elected throughout the Lower Mainland region.

Popular Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, who was once tabbed as a possible successor to former premier Gordon Campbell as Liberal leader, was re-elected with 80 per cent of the vote.

Other incumbents in Burnaby, Delta and Richmond have been around for more than a decade.

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar was returned to office for a second term, but only by just over 200 votes over last-minute opponent Dieter Dudy. The organic farmer filed his nomination papers on the deadline day last month.

One notable exception was in Mission, a bedroom community east of Vancouver on the Fraser River, where two-term mayor James Atebe was defeated by Ted Adlem.

City council there had been embroiled in a controversy over a city bylaw that prompted some residents to launch a class action lawsuit over thousands of dollars they were billed in so-called inspection fees.

The fees were levied after city officials concluded they may be operating illegal marijuana grow-ops. One claimant said he was levied the fees after inspectors found a badly wired hot top. Others complained they had to pay after inspectors found potting soil on the floor.