When a Times reporter addressed Langley City council’s newest member as “Mr.” Pachal, one of his colleagues was quick to point out the error.
“It’s Councillor Pachal,” Coun. Rudy Storteboom said.
Nathan Pachal grinned.
On Monday night, the winner of the Langley City by-election took his seat.
Pachal read out the oath of office, as specified in the Local Government Act.
Among other things, the law requires a B.C. municipal councillor to promise that they are qualified to hold the office of municipal councillor, were not involved in “vote buying or intimidation,” and will disclose “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest” in issues that come before council and refrain from debating or voting on them.
When he was done reading the oath out loud, Pachal signed the paper making it official.
“Welcome aboard,” mayor Ted Schaffer said.
On Feb. 27, Pachal won the Langley City by-election to fill the seat left vacant by the late councillor Dave Hall, taking 740 votes out of the 2,076 cast for all nine candidates.
That’s about 12 per cent of the eligible voters, which is considered good for a by-election.
Pachal had to wait until the second council meeting following his election win before he was sworn in to allow the time limit for a legal challenge of the election results to expire.
Pachal said it all became real to him when his first councillor’s package arrived, including a manual, a thick binder and a memory stick full of files.
Pachal is a longtime advocate for improved public transit and cycling who spent much of his campaign talking about the need to revitalize the downtown, treat homelessness and fight crime.
The by-election win was his second attempt, following his near-miss in 2014 when he was edged out of a council seat by just 71 votes.
Pachal’s husband, Rob Bittner, was in the audience for the Monday swearing-in along with other friends and supporters, including former Township Coun. Grant Ward and fellow transit crusader and ally Joe Zaccaria. Zaccaria said he has moved to the U.S. but made a trip back across the border to Langley to see Pachal at his first council meeting.
The business of the City took about an hour to complete.
Pachal made his first official motion as a councillor to accept the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.
When the session wrapped up, council adjourned to a nearby coffee house for their traditional post-meeting get-together.