Harrison Hot Springs mayor resigns after years of council infighting

The mayor of a village in the Lower Mainland announced his resignation Monday, effective from the end of the day.

In a statement released on the village’s website, Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Ed Wood thanked both the corporate officer and chief financial officer for “their professionalism during our time together.”

“They have demonstrated integrity, respect, and accountability of which I hold strong to,” he added.

Wood ended by saying it “has been an honour to be your Mayor.”

A message from Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Ed Wood announcing his resignation on June10, 2024.
A message from Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Ed Wood announcing his resignation on June10, 2024. (Source Village of Harrison Hot Springs)

Wood’s resignation comes after over a year of dysfunction at the municipality, with council meetings often descending into scenes of chaos.

It started with the 2022 election. When Wood was elected mayor, all four councillors at the time tried to pass a non-confidence vote, with things only getting worse from there.

It culminated in a failed attempt by Wood in March to dissolve council.

Coun. John Allen, one of Woods’ only supporters, claims three other councillors ganged up on the mayor.

“They have constantly attacked him, made life difficult for him and everybody else, and refused to accept the result of the people’s choice of Ed Wood as mayor,” he told CityNews.

“I think it’s a sad day for Harrison when a good man, who has done his best for the community, is being hounded out of office by this group.”

Meanwhile, coun. Michie Vidal says she was hoping to work through the problems, after the ministry helped implement recommendations to support mayor and council through the disagreements.

“So that was coming in the future and I was actually quite, I guess for lack of a better word, shocked when I got the news this morning that the former mayor decided to resign,” Vidal said Monday.

However, Allen says he feels the government didn’t do enough to support Wood.

“I think there’s been a complete abdication of responsibility by the government in Victoria, who should have been here supporting the elected mayor, and they haven’t done that,” he claimed.

Vidal says, in her view, Wood’s inexperience as an elected official “to a certain extent” contributed to the challenges faced during his tenure.

“I can only speak for myself, but I think there was a huge difference in opinion on how council meetings should be run, and that caused some considerable discourse during council meetings,” she said.

“I’m not going to say disagreement — there were numerous incidents during council meetings when I would attempt to call a point of order, which is a legitimate thing during council meetings, and quite often Mayor Wood would just discount them. So, as I was saying, I think a little bit of the conflict came from … a difference in interpretation.”

The details for a byelection are now being worked out. In the interim, counc. Leo Facio has been named deputy mayor.

CityNews has reached out to Wood for comment.

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