Rod Peters has resigned as mayor of Lake Cowichan.
Peters, who has been mayor since the municipal elections in 2018, officially resigned on July 28 after sending a letter to council outlining his reasons.
In the letter, Peters said the health of his wife Karen is in decline and he wants to spend more time with her.
“She isn’t walking well enough to leave her unassisted at home and she contracted C-difficile again,” Peters said.
“Also she’s retaining fluid in her feet, legs and abdominal cavity. This is a sign that her liver is not functioning properly. I have stopped being involved with my business so I can take care of Karen. But I have decided to resign as mayor because Karen is my number one priority. I have no idea what time she has left. I’m almost 71 years old and Karen is 73 and I think it’s time I spend my time looking after her. I apologize for resigning but Karen needs my help having some quality life, and I am going to help her all I can.”
It was Peters’s first term as mayor and he served two terms as a town councillor in the 1980s.
He took a leave of absence from council in May, and town councillor Tim McGonigle has been serving as the acting mayor ever since.
McGonigle said he appreciates the service Peters gave to the community in his time as mayor, and his two terms on council.
“I respect and fully support his decision to retire,” he said.
“Family comes first and if I were in his position, I’d do the same thing.”
McGonigle said he will continue in the role of acting mayor until a date is set for a byelection.
He said the date will be determined by the province, and he anticipates that it could be in October.
“There will have to be time for advance polls and to allow for setting up some sort of social distancing during the voting,” McGonigle said.
As for whether he would run for mayor, McGonigle said he has yet to make that decision.
“I’ll wait to see who else will run for mayor first,” he said.
“For now, I’m just weighing my options.”
In the municipal elections in 2018, Peters successfully ran against Lake Cowichan’s long-time incumbent mayor Ross Forrest and councillor Bob Day for the mayor’s seat.