Longtime View Royal mayor calling it quits

Colourful Mayor Graham Hill pleased with the town’s accomplishments

Graham Hill won four elections for mayor in his 12 years in View Royal politics.

After 12 years of serving his community in the top job, View Royal Mayor Graham Hill will not be seeking re-election this November.

Hill, 79, made it official this week.

“I’ve had a long and varied career, but this has been the best chapter by far,” he said in a statement.

It’s been a long and varied career indeed.

Born in Staffordshire, England, Hill trained in metallurgy before moving to Canada to work in the labs of mining company Cominco. An industrial accident changed the direction of his career and he moved on to senior computing positions in both the public and private sectors, including the RCMP, Public Works Canada and Revenue Canada. Hill also served as director of information systems for several provincial ministries before retiring.

Hill won the mayor’s chair for the first time in 2002, filling former mayor Bill Camden’s vacant seat and defeating two other candidates by a healthy margin of at least 300 votes, despite having no previous council experience. He remained unchallenged for nine years until 2011, when he beat out Coun. Andrew Britton and Barb Fetherstonhaugh to take up his fourth term.

Only View Royal’s third mayor since it was incorporated in 1988, Hill worked to improve the town and lead change, helping it be recognized as a desirable place to live and where property values would be sustained. He cites several large improvement projects as the highlights of his career as mayor, including the beautification and improvement of Helmcken Road, the cycling and turning lanes installed on Four Mile hill, the intricate stone mural built there in 2011 and most recently the completion of the Craigflower Bridge, for which the town was able to secure regional gas tax funding.

Hill’s reign as mayor was not without controversy.

He and the town were hit with a lawsuit from Kevin Weaver, president of Thetis Cove Estates Ltd., which accused Hill and the town of View Royal of not following through on promises made when Weaver was attempting to develop Thetis Cove area between 2000 and 2008.

Weaver claimed the failed promises caused the development to fail.

The claim, initially filed in November of 2010, declared that Weaver was forced to file bankruptcy because of the stalled development, and he and his family lost their home and their equity.

Despite the legal trouble, Hill says he’s satisfied with what he’s accomplished during his terms. “Most of what I’d hoped to see has taken shape in View Royal,” he said. “In the past 12 years, a committed council and great staff work have seen View Royal recognized around the region as a very nice place to live.”

He thanked his council colleagues, staff and supporters, especially his wife and family, and plans to keep busy into his mayoral retirement.

“There are new chapters to write.”

acowan@goldstream gazette.com