KELOWNA, B.C. – After more than two decades on Kelowna city council, Andre Blanleil has announced he will not be running in this fall’s upcoming civic election.
Blanleil was first elected in 1993.
He says his decision not to seek re-election was a difficult one.
“It was really hard actually even up until Sunday morning trying to make a decision. It’s been a long time. I have really enjoyed it. It was fun, I learned a lot but at a certain point you have to do something for yourself too,” says Blanleil.
Blanleil cites his expanding electronics business as one reason for his decision.
He also says he wants to spend more time traveling.
Blanleil admits the new four year terms being implemented instead of the current three also played a role in his decision making.
“Oh absolutely. I probably would have stuck around for three but four is a really long commitment,” says Blanleil.
The long time councilor has worked with seven different councils and under three mayors but it’s this current council he says that has been among the most productive ones in getting the job done.
“We’ve had a lot of great people on council over the years I just think this one is a lot more cohesive and a lot more focused on one dream which is really to get the city of Kelowna to become a world class city. The previous council before this one was more of a challenge. We had a lot of councilors that had a different vision for Kelowna,” he says.
Blanleil cites some major projects the current council has worked on that will improve the city even more.
Those include the new waterfront hotel being built by Westcorp , a new high-tech innovation center and a new Interior health building that will bring hundreds of workers to the downtown core.
“Potentially 1,200, 1,300 new jobs downtown, the new pier downtown, the hotel on the waterfront, that is this council and those are pretty big things that will have long lasting effects on the city. Without a strong downtown a city is not a city and we have been able to achieve that,” says Blanleil.
While he says he’s not running again, this may not be Blanleil’s final farewell to municipal politics just yet.
“I am not ruling out I may not come back in four years but 4 years is a long time and we will see where my life is in 4 years,” says Blanleil.