There will be at least one new face on Abbotsford council next year.
Lynne Harris has confirmed she will not seek re-election in the Nov. 19 municipal election.
“I do not intend, at this time, to file my papers for re-election,” she said, adding that something “significant” would have to happen in order to change her mind.
Harris has served three terms (nine years) on council and 15 years as a school board trustee before that.
“Twenty-four years in a blink of an eye … At this point in time, it’s time to close a chapter in my life, the political chapter.”
Her departure from politics will leave at least one seat open in council chambers.
“It’s always good to allow new people to come to the table. New ideas and new perspectives.”
She plans to dedicate more of her time to her family.
While Harris is stepping aside, the most senior member of council will seek another term.
Simon Gibson has confirmed that he will again run for council. His political career began in the 1980s and he has been on council – first in Matsqui and now Abbotsford – for 29 years.
He has served on virtually every board and committee and currently is an Abbotsford rep on the regional district board. He also serves on the water and sewer commission and on the transit board.
Gibson is also an instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley and teaches in the School of Business.
“I’ve been encouraged by a number of people to seek re-election and it would be a privilege to serve a further term on our council, “ Gibson said.
He knows that there are many challenges ahead.
“There is no doubt that our future water needs will be a significant issue facing our council. The referendum this fall will provide the opportunity for the public to express their views on this critical initiative.”
Gibson is “relatively satisfied” with the city’s planning and development approaches, but said he’d like to see more effort to provide greater green space enhancement.
He also said he recognizes the frustrations of taxpayers.
“We need to provide very economical government as I realize the taxpayer’s capacity to pay is often stretched to the limit. This also means finding new sources of revenue over and above traditional property taxation.”
Coun. Les Barkman and Mayor George Peary have both announced their intention to run again, however, the other council incumbents have yet to make official declarations.