Mayor Bill Given says it was one of the toughest decisions he has faced, but leaving the City of Grande Prairie will be coming sooner than he expected.
Given will be stepping down at the end of December, as the five-term municipal politician has accepted a position as Chief Administrative Officer in Jasper.
Given, who had already announced he would not be running for elected office again in 2021, is now leaving the chair of the mayor a full 10 months earlier than expected. He says he will hold the memories made as a member of city council, and a resident of Grande Prairie for the rest of his life.
“It was a very difficult decision. Grande Prairie is my home community; I love it very dearly, and having the fantastic opportunity to be involved over so many years is of course quite special,” he says.
“It will make leaving difficult when it happens in January, but I know I’m going to a very special place,” he adds. “My understanding is they have a fantastic municipal team in Jasper, and I’m really looking forward to getting started with all of them in the new year.”
Given says his fellow councillors were made aware of the news, and have offered up their support as he will be out of politics for the first time in nearly two decades.
“They’ve been nothing but supportive through the whole process, and I think that really speaks to the comradery that has been built over the course of this term.”
Under the Municipal Government Act, there is no requirement to hold a byelection if there are 12 months or less left in the term, but it will be up to current members of council to discuss and plan if they choose to do so. The next municipal election will take place in October 2021.