After 20 years in municipal government, RM of Cornwallis Reeve Reg Atkinson will retire from politics at the end of this term.
Atkinson announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election this fall.
"I like to leave on a high, and I think I left my other two positions on a high," Atkinson said.
Atkinson was the mayor of Hartney from 1981 to 1989. He spent five years as Brandon’s mayor (1997-2002), before becoming RM of Cornwallis reeve in a 2008 byelection.
"It’ll be 20 years … so that’s quite a bit," Atkinson said. "They’ve all been interesting, they’ve all been different, but I have really enjoyed Cornwallis … the council, they all bring different things to the table, they’ve worked very well together and they’ve taught me more than I’ve taught them."
Atkinson, 65, said it’s time to move on and think about retirement.
"I’ll be 66 next month, so if I had stayed and had I won, I’d have been 70 when I was done," he said. "I think we can all be replaced. I think there should be turnover in these positions."
A memorable event from his time as reeve was dealing with the historic flood of 2011.
"I think it brought our council together more than any single thing," he said. "Everybody was out sandbagging together and walking in the mud together, planning together … I think that would be the biggest single issue that we had to deal with."
The municipal election will take place in October, so Atkinson still has nine months at the helm.
"We’ve got some things we have to wrap up," he said. "We’ve got some waste water issues that we have to look after, we’ve got issues in Chater, issues in Sprucewoods, we’ve got development issues. It’s going to be really busy."
Atkinson said he believed it was important to make it public that he will not be seeking re-election well in advance of the October vote.
"I think there’s people that won’t challenge an incumbent, that would plan for that position if they knew it was open and it was a new ball game," he said. "So I think it’s good for the municipality that people know."