Elections

Chak Au makes leap to council

Chak Au (centre) will join Linda Barnes and Harold Steves on council - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Chak Au (centre) will join Linda Barnes and Harold Steves on council
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

Chak Au is one of two new faces on Richmond city council, earning the seventh of eight seats decided in Saturday's election.

In a race that proved to be close—with 12 candidates contending for the seats on election night—Au said he had a secret weapon: his wife Christine Hui.

"She worked very hard for me, so I think she was the one who got me winning," said Au, speaking to a crowd at the Steveston Hotel.

The crowd comprised supporters of the Richmond Citizens Association, the party of Harold Steves and Linda Barnes. Au, a member of the Richmond Independent Team of Electors, came to RCA headquarters shortly after the results were finalized to say he looks forward to working "very closely" with Steves and Barnes, calling the pair "role models."

"I believe we should be bringing people together, not dividing people," said Au.

Au said he believes Richmond will soon be the focus of the world as a leader in urban farming, and is considered a key ally to Steves, Barnes and others who want to see the Garden City lands used as farmland.

Au, a Richmond school trustee for 12 years, announced early last month he was seeking higher office. The move proved fruitful. Au earned 13,366 votes, just 2,594 votes away from the votes leader.

Au immigrated from Hong Kong in 1988. He works as the program leader of the mental health promotion and counselling team at Vancouver Coastal Health Authority in Richmond.

Voters cast ballots in his direction because of his track record of getting results and building bridges while a school trustee.

Au said his win also came as a result of plain hard work.

"I tried to get the message out that we needed positive change on council."

The rest of Au's RITE slate—Carol Day and Michael Wolfe—weren't as successful. Au said it was "a little bit disappointing" that RITE couldn't secure at least one more seat on council.

Au said he heard concerns during the campaign about staff running city hall. He said he'll work with council on broadening its reach to the public.

"I will make sure that I will get more meaningful consultation with the people."

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