Al Siebring will no be running for re-election as mayor of North Cowichan in the municipal elections in October.
Siebring, who has been on North Cowichan council for 13 years and has served the last three years as mayor, said he will be almost 65 years old when the next municipal elections are held on Oct. 15, and he now has 11 grandchildren.
He said he wants the time to watch them grow up.
But Siebring said it’s also true that since 2018, council has been presented with governance challenges worthy of two or three terms in office, including some very contentious issues facing a divided council, almost all of them having to be dealt with in the context of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he might have considered running again for mayor in October’s election if this term in office was a normal one.
“But with all the issues we are facing, including the continuing downloading from senior levels of government and increased expectations from the public that local government should ‘fix’ things which are neither within our legislative wheelhouse or financial capacity, like opioids and homelessness, I don’t see life getting easier for at least the next five or six years,” he said.
“Life is just too short.”
But Siebring said the choice between potentially four more years of public service or going the “family first” route hasn’t been easy for him.
“Adding to the equation was the fact that, while I’m not prepared to get into specifics, COVID-19 and a few other issues have impacted my extended family and circle of friends in some profound ways in recent months,” he said.
“So after a lot of soul-searching, many long talks with [wife] Anne, and lots of consultation with close friends and advisors, I’ve decided that this will be my final term on North Cowichan council. I will not be seeking re-election in October. It’s time to go with ‘family first’, and watch those grandkids grow up.”