Ucluelet is slated to select a new mayor on Oct. 15 as Mayco Noel has decided not to run for re-election.
“For me, this is probably the biggest decision of my life to be honest with you and I’ve been really struggling with my decision going back and forth. In the last week here I made that firm commitment that I will not be re-running and just really focusing on myself, my family and my business,” Noel told the Westerly News on Thursday. “Thank you to everybody for their support and their kind words and I’ll be here to assist in any way as we move forward.”
Noel was elected as a councillor in 2014 before running for and winning the mayor’s seat in 2018.
“I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done in the last eight years, but I also know that the role of mayor and council belongs to the community and I look forward to seeing the next chapter and who’s going to put their names in,” he said.
He said he enjoyed serving his community as mayor, but it’s time to focus on his most important role.
“I’ve got a 9-year-old daughter, in another four years she’s going to be 13 and when I put that into context, whether it’s me going to a meeting or being taken away for a convention or doing some other things on top of my other duties I have as a business owner, the reality is I’m finding time is getting more precious and I’m getting a little bit worn out trying to squeeze everything in,” he said, adding he hopes his youngest daughter finds the same success his adult daughter has.
“This is my round-two of being a father. On round-one I had a lot of success and the next four years for my daughter, as far as I’m concerned, are probably some of the most critical ones and I just need to make sure that I’m home, I’m around and not racing off trying to solve all the world’s problems.”
He added that being the mayor of a small town meant never truly feeling off the clock.
“I’ve loved trying to get initiatives that I’ve been wanting to see in our community for decades and being able to be at the table to make those decisions and make things happen has been wonderful,” he said. “The downside is sometimes in a small town you don’t get too many places to go hide, whether it’s at the pub or at a restaurant or on a beach…The reality is it’s a commitment and there’s no real opportunity to turn it off.”
He cited, “reconnecting with our neighbours and really putting some meaning behind that relationship,” as a key highlight and focus of his tenure, noting his council oversaw a new Fire Protection Agreement with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation and collaborated on a significantly increased Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ presence in town including new flags and bilingual street signs.
He said the arrival of Duane Lawrence as the town’s Chief Administrative Officer last year gives him boosted assurance that Ucluelet is in good hands.
“It gives me a sense of comfort because Duane Lawrence is someone that I have 100 per cent confidence in,” he said. “Having him at the helm as the administrator allows me the ability to know that however ‘wingnutty’ the council could be, we have very strong leadership there.”
He said he’s hoping to see a new mayor with strong leadership skills and an ability to articulate creative, outside-the-box ideas for the good of the community.
“At the beginning, when I got elected, I think there were a lot of naysayers about me…At the end of it, some of the people I know didn’t vote for me would gladly check the box off now. It was nice to be able to prove that I do represent the entire community,” he said. “I hope the new mayor, whoever it is, appreciates that at the end of the day, it’s about the greater good for the community, not just the specific group that may have voted you in.”
He added that he has no plans to leave his hometown.
“I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done and where the council is,” he said. “I know that the community is in a wonderful, wonderful spot and it gives me some peace to know that. Although I’m moving on from this role, I’m a local and I don’t plan to move anywhere. This is where I call home. I just want to be able to flourish a little more than I am right now.”
The nomination period for Oct. 15’s municipal election ends on Friday, Sept. 9, and the campaign period begins Sept. 15. Anyone interested in putting their name forward can find more information at www.ucluelet.ca.
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