The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Grant Burr
Posted: 05/14/2018 10:15 AM
Steinbach will have someone new sitting in the mayor’s chair this fall. Mayor Chris Goertzen said on Monday that he will not seek re-election in October, as he finishes 12 years as the city’s head of council.
"Steinbach is a place that I'm proud of, whether it’s our cleanliness, whether it’s our welcoming atmosphere, or great businesses...we've got a great city and we're looked on as a leader in the province," he told The Carillon.
Goertzen’s twelve years as mayor move him into a tie with L.A. Barkman for a share of the title of longest serving Steinbach mayor.
Goertzen was first elected to council in 2002 as a councillor, before his election as mayor in 2006. The past 16 years have been marked by huge growth and he credited council with helping to manage that change.
"Steinbach is in a great position and it has been setup to be a successful city for many years to come," he said.
The mayor highlighted improved relationships with neighbouring municipalities as one of the highlights of his time on council.
"I grew up outside the city knowing that sometimes those relationships weren’t always the best," said Goertzen, whose father was a councillor in the RM of La Broquerie.
"So, for me, that was a priority. I’ll continue to do that over the next number of months and I suspect others will see the real benefit of that too as they lead the city forward," he said.
Goertzen also noted the city’s role in convincing the Steinbach Credit Union to remain downtown as another highlight.
"I think that was pivotal to Steinbach in solidifying the importance of downtown and really solidifying the city as a place to do business and have corporate headquarters."
The mayor acknowledged that not all plans have come to fruition, when asked about projects like the proposed performing arts centre that did not move ahead. All part of leadership, he suggested.
"The importance of leadership is moving through challenges and moving through times of potential conflict, making sure that everyone is heard, decisions are made, and they are followed through on," he said.
"So, sure there are things we wish we all could have done differently or better but, in large part, our city has many great things going on and obviously future councils will continue to work at different projects to make sure we have the right things in place for citizens so we can continue to be a very attractive city to live in."
Though he may be stepping away from municipal politics, he won’t stop being a booster for the city he’s served in public life for 16 years.
"The relationships that I’ve developed certainly don’t end simply because I’m not sitting in the mayor’s chair, those will continue. I look forward to continuing to be an ambassador of sorts for Steinbach and for the good news stories that we’ve been able to tell and been able to live out."
He brushed off questions of whether he would pursue a run for another level of politics sometime in the future.
"At this time, no, but you never say never. The reality is that I want to focus on my family, I want to focus on my business, and serving the community in other ways."
Municipal elections will be held in Manitoba on Oct. 24. Registration for mayoral candidates began on May 1. Council candidates can begin registering their campaigns on June 30.
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