After just one term on Kelowna city council, Gerry Zimmermann is calling quits.
Zimmermann, the city’s former fire chief who said he ran for council in 2011 because he was concerned about the direction the city was taking under the former council, announced Monday he will not seek re-election in November’s civic vote.
Zimmermann’s decision brings the number of seats on council up for grabs this year to four, with incumbent Coun. Andre Blanleil’s announcement last week he will not see re-election after 21 years on council, Coun. Colin Basran saying he will run for mayor given incumbent Walter Gray’s decision to retire from politics following this council term and long-time councillor Robert Hobson saying repeatedly he is leaning towards not running after 26 years on council and adding “something major” would have to happen to make him change his mind.
Zimmermann said he decided not to run again in part because of the new four-year terms for local government elected officials across B.C. and also because “I would rather ride my horse and my tractor than attend meetings.”
“Life is too short,” he said Monday. “I’m 65-years-old and there are other things I want to do.”
Those include spend more time with his family, tend to his farm and travel.
Despite his decision not seek re-elelction after just one term on council, Zimmermann said he was pleased and proud of the work the current council has done over the last three years and felt it will be difficult to reproduce a council that includes seven members who work so well together in future.
He said for him, the highlights of his three years on council are the small projects that directly help people rather than bigger, more high-profile ones like the new Interior Health building downtown, a new RCMP building or approval of a major hotel, conference centre and commercial project that is expected to change the face of downtown Kelowna.
Zimmermann said he has applied to once again become a commissioner on the provincial Agricultural Land Commission, a position he held from 2008 to 2010. That term, however, was punctuated by a life-threatening illness Zimmermann faced in 2009.
Meanwhile, while Gray, Zimmermann, Blanleil and Hobson have all indicated they will not seek re-election in November, and Basran plans to run for mayor, their council colleagues Mohini Singh, Luke Stack and Maxine DeHart have all said they plan to run again for councillor positions and Gail Given has said she is mulling a run for mayor. She has said if she does not run for mayor, she will run again for councillor.