Brockville councillor Leigh Bursey resigns, 2 seats now vacant

Brockville Coun. Leigh Bursey is resigning in order to spend more time with his family. This leaves two spots vacant on the city's council. Leigh Bursey / Facebook

A long-time Brockville, Ont., councillor is leaving his political post, and the city, to take care of his family.

Leigh Bursey, currently 34 years old, has been a councillor for the past 11 years.

“That’s one-third of my life dedicated to this community, and I did some things sort of backwards. I got my driver’s license while being a councillor,” he said in an interview with Global News Wednesday.

Bursey said he first ran for council in his early 20s because he wanted a better transit system for the city of Brockville.

Now, more than a decade later, Bursey said he got to do so much more.

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“I think of charity wrestling matches and drag shows, getting a pie in the face and helping a little boy get a service dog and helping to build a playground, and all of these incredible things that make communities feel good,” he said.

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Still, Bursey says he believes his time as councillor has run its course. He’s leaving his post in order to move to Newfoundland to take care of family with health issues.

He thanked his community, and said that although his time as councillor wasn’t exactly easy at times, it was well worth the effort.

“Politics, even in a small town, can be very, very challenging – probably more so because it becomes very personal. But if you can look past that, you can also impact people’s lives in a very direct way,” Bursey said.

His last day as councillor is Nov. 5.

Bursey’s is the third resignation to hit the municipality in a matter of weeks: Brockville Mayor Jason Baker was forced to resign due to his recent move and the city’s CAO, Janette Loveys also left.

Click to play video: 'Jason Baker resigns his position as Brockville mayor'
Jason Baker resigns his position as Brockville mayor

Tuesday night, council voted six to zero on a motion to declare two councillor seats vacant, after promoting former councillor Mike Kalivas to fill Baker’s old seat.

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They also asked staff to look into whether any runners-up from the 2018 civic election would be interested in filling the two vacancies, and to report back to council in two weeks, when a final decision is expected on how to proceed.

Council is leaning toward this approach, rather than seeking random candidates from the community or holding an $80,000 by-election.

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