Former West Vancouver mayor Mark Sager running for top job

More than 20 years after last serving as West Vancouver’s mayor, Mark Sager wants his old job back.

West Vancouver needs to house its teachers, firefighters and police officers, Sager said, suggesting the district could follow Whistler’s lead and build employee housing in Ambleside or above the highway.

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“We simply cannot have all of our first responders . . . living outside the community and commuting great distances to get here.”

Sager said any housing option would have to include: “some kind of ownership model that allows those people to buy in this community.”

Given “intolerable” afternoon congestion on the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing, Sager said he would work with neighbouring municipalities to lobby TransLink for better service.

“We are going to need the co-operation of our friends in North Vancouver and all around to get a greater allocation of transit monies for the North Shore,” he said.

Asked if West Vancouver should be serviced by a SkyTrain or light rail, Sager replied: “I wish I knew the answer to that right away. My gut tells me we need to get some kind of rail extension to Phibbs Exchange and then a B-line bus right across the North Shore.”

Sager also suggested West Vancouver establish how many workers and contractors are commuting to and from Squamish.

“Do we push for a bus line to Squamish? I bet it would work,” he said.

Sager, who served as West Vancouver mayor from 1990 to 1996, warned that the municipality may face a budget shortfall due to the school tax, which he said could take $50 million out of the community. Sager hosted a town hall meeting this spring to oppose the NDP-led tax.

Sager said he was persuaded to run by outgoing Mayor Michael Smith.

“(Smith) did tell me he was frustrated getting the council to work together. He felt that was a skill I have,” Sager said.

While Smith frequently found himself at odds with a contingent of the community whom he characterized as unwilling to embrace change, Sager said he envisioned garnering broader support.

“I relate very much to that sense of keeping the nice parts of West Vancouver. That doesn’t mean that other projects can’t be done,” he said.

As an example, Sager suggested the West Vancouver would embrace a “quaint, quality hotel somewhere in Ambleside.”

Sager touted his role on a previous council that pre-zoned property around Dundarave Village to allow townhouses.

“Was that a wise decision? Yes, yes it was. Did we have a bit of resistance at the time? Yes, we did.”

As the founding member of Sager LLP, a law firm dealing with municipal law, real estate and land development, Sager said he would have to cut down on his time practising law and steer clear of any case involving West Vancouver, he said.

Sager also plans to steer clear of social media.

“Don’t expect to see me having a Twitter account because we’re not going to American-style politics, no thanks.”

If elected, Sager said he’ll do his best to put aside “big city politics” and ensure residents get the best value for their tax dollars.

“This is like running a big strata council where you’ve all got to live together,” he said.

Other candidates include Nolan Strong as well as Couns. Mary-Ann Booth and Christine Cassidy.

The election is scheduled for Oct. 20.




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