EDMONTON – Wednesday marked the last city council meeting for a number of Edmonton councillors and for Mayor Stephen Mandel, who is stepping down after three terms.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Mayor Mandel. “We’ve worked together to try to build a better city… We haven’t always seen eye to eye on issues, but for the most part, I think we’ve moved the needle. We’ve had a soul, a heart, a desire to make life better for people.”
It was a clearly emotional meeting for council, as many members spoke about their experience serving alongside their colleagues and serving the people of Edmonton.
“It’s been a great three years for me,” said Ward 3 Councillor Dave Loken, “with all of you.”
“I appreciate – those of you who are leaving – your guidance, sometimes a kick in the butt once and a while… Karen,” Loken joked.
“This business is extraordinarily complex, and becoming more so, and the decisions are becoming more difficult,” shared Ward 1 Councillor Linda Sloan. “I have great respect for all members of council – Stephen and all members of council – for the dedication that has been exhibited over the nine years I have served as part of this body.”
“I want to thank all of my colleagues,” said Ward 6 Councillor Jane Batty. “We certainly haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I have always appreciated that when we walk out of this room, we walk out as friends.”
“To my council colleagues: I will miss all of you,” said a tearful Ward 2 Councillor Kim Krushell. “To those of you running again, all the best. Certainly Stephen, your nickname for me has always been ‘Kimmy’… I have to say I’ve always seen you in a different role in a way… you’ve always kind of been a father figure…you’ve been an incredible, empowering leader… I thank you for serving Edmonton and Edmontonians.”
It will also be the final city council meeting for at least two of the three councillors running for the mayor’s seat. Kerry Diotte, Don Iveson and Karen Leibovici are all running for the city’s top job.
People sitting in council chambers for the last meeting surprised Mandel with a little tribute. You can watch their surprise below.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Mandel wrote about the special occasion.
“Today marks the last City Council meeting before the upcoming election. As my third, and final, term as Mayor of Edmonton is coming to a close, I have been reflecting on the remarkable changes we have seen across our city. When I ran for Mayor in 2004, I did so on the platform of becoming a capital city again and inspiring Edmontonians to believe that Edmonton is worthy of our pride and investment. Today, I think we have gone a long way in accomplishing that goal. The change in our city and the excitement about Edmonton’s future is palpable.
I have to extend my deepest thanks to my Council colleagues over the past nine years. It has only been through a fundamentally strong and united City Council that we have been able to see our shared vision through from the planning stages to implementation. We have all recognized that there is no worthier investment – and no better partners – than the people we serve. Our mutual commitment to developing and nurturing partnerships has seen us reach out into the community and have the community reaching back.”
The message also appeared in local newspapers on Wednesday. When asked why he wanted to write a message to Edmontonians, Mandel replied, “I needed some closure in my mind, and really, to thank the citizens of Edmonton. We received three fairly substantial mandates to do what we’ve done. And not everybody’s been happy, but you can’t make everybody happy. If you do that, you do nothing.”
Mandel will be on the Global Edmonton Morning News on Friday, September 20.
For Global Edmonton’s full Decision Edmonton 2013 coverage, click here.