Vancouver Vancouver voters who headed to the polls at the weekend had their choice between two men who were remarkably similar. Both play the guitar and are avid cyclists. They even look like they could be related, with two-term city councillor Peter Ladner often portrayed as the more studious older brother to Gregor Robertson, who is taller and more tanned. But the latter scored over 10,000 votes more than his rival in a victory that was a clear indication of how quickly a campaign can change. The race for mayor had a slow start. Both are successful businessmen. Mr Robertson founded an organic juice company; Mr Ladner, a business publication. But two weeks ago, the race suddenly changed after it was revealed Mr Robertson was dodging a minor scandal over a C$173 (HK$1,085) fine for underpaying a fare on the SkyTrain. He was also attempting to have the fine reversed, arguing that it was too high - a battle he supposedly took up for lower income earners who might get stung the same way. His critics in the Non-Partisan Association, the party Mr Ladner leads, said the fine and his fight showed Mr Robertson showed a lack of leadership, a criticism that particularly stung because of his relative inexperience. Soon enough, in a big U-turn, Mr Robertson paid the fine. But before the NPA could gloat, a new scandal emerged over a controversial C$100-million loan to sustain the financially troubled local developer building the 2010 Olympic athletes' village. While all 11 city councillors in the closed meeting voted unanimously to approve the loan, the secrecy of the deal hurt Mr Ladner most because he led the meeting. When Mr Robertson demanded that the information be made public, Mr Ladner was left in a painful position - especially during a campaign - after insisting that details of the negotiations had to remain confidential. Mr Ladner said he would rather lose the election than put taxpayers in a bad position by revealing details of the loan. Just days before the election, Mayor Sam Sullivan, who was out of the race after losing a nomination battle against Mr Ladner, asked police to investigate allegations that a piece of paper detailing the closed-door meeting had gone missing but mysteriously reappeared. Councillors even offered to take a lie-detector test to prove that they had not leaked anything. The issue appeared to have been a major factor for voters, who went to the polls in larger-than-usual numbers. Mr Robertson's party won a majority of council seats, including three Chinese-Canadians - George Chow and Raymond Louie, who were re-elected, and psychologist Kerry Jang. Mr Robertson attributed the victory to the coalition that formed between the left-of-centre municipal parties that had split during the last campaign. 'It was a hard-fought campaign but there is still far more that unites us than divides us,' he said in his victory speech. 'We recognised our shared values and our shared commitments.' In the end, the loan debacle was a distraction from other key issues, such as homelessness, affordable housing and citizenship engagement, Kera McArthur with the policy group Think City, said. 'It brought the issue of accountability and civic governance to the forefront,' she said. The mayor-elect said homelessness was the top priority for the city, but his insistence - at least during the election campaign - that the public should know the details of the loan, meant it was one issue that will not be going away.