Longtime Kelowna city councillor André Blanleil announced Sunday he was walking away from the role he’s held down for more than two decades, but that doesn’t mean he’s slammed the door on a life in politics.
“It was a really hard decision, even up until Sunday morning,” he said.
“I kept thinking, ‘do I stay or go—stay or go?’ In the end I decided to go, but I’m not saying I wouldn’t come back in four years.”
The impetus behind the leap away from his political role is a desire to enjoy his life when he’s healthy and able to do so—maybe even put the work/life balance in order by adding some more significant recreational plans into his schedule.
As is, Blanleil is busy. He oversees 21 Andrés Electronic stores and is planning on growing the retail network even further in the days to come. That will leave him even less time for a political position, when things like sourcing suppliers are factored in.
“Mostly, though, it just seemed to be a good time,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 21 years and one of the nice things is we’ve just had one of the most successful terms I’ve been on.”
Some of the accomplishments the current council is taking credit for include the pier, the marina, the yacht club the Interior Health building, the Innovation Centre and, somewhere in there, are 1,200 to 1,400 new jobs in the downtown core.
Blanleil, who’s been consistently pro-business in his tack, is leaving the city’s political sphere right where he once imagined it could be.
“Kelowna is one of the top places to be,” he said, pointing out that it has grown by leaps and bounds, while taxes have stayed relatively in check.
And, as the economy strengthens and as investment in key infrastructure grows, this city and region will continue to attract investors and people from across the country and beyond.
Part of that projected prosperous future is the staff and fellow council members, he said.
They, too, learned of his decision to step down this weekend and have shared their thoughts on his decision.
“I think all of them are disappointed. I let them know all along that I was thinking of this, though,” he said. “Most said they wish I was staying.”
The municipal election is coming up in November. Only a handful of candidates have thrown their hat into the ring, thus far.