After 13 years in municipal politics, Port Alberni city councillor Jack McLeman is calling it a career.
McLeman announced this week that he will not be running again in the upcoming election in October. He is the only current councillor who will not be running for election—either for council or mayor.
McLeman, who says he’s “not getting any younger,” wants to spend more time with his family and grandchildren and thinks new perspectives are needed for city council.
“I’ve served four terms now,” he said. “I feel after that length of time, you need fresh eyes.”
McLeman has been a resident of Port Alberni since 1970 and spent much of his working career at the Somass Sawmill. He was first elected to council in 2005 after being encouraged by a number of people to run.
“I thought the people there weren’t doing that good of a job,” he added.
McLeman ended up being re-elected three times. He served two terms with Mayor Ken McRae, one with Mayor John Douglas and one with Mayor Mike Ruttan. He has represented the city at Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board meetings, along with many other committees over the years, but he says the highlight of his career is the Alberni Valley Community Forest (AVCF).
The AVCF was established in 2007 to put control of the lands and resources into the hands of local people.
“It’s quiet, and you don’t hear a lot of fanfare,” said McLeman. “But the people on the board there are very dedicated, very considerate of the community and very proud of what they do for the community.”
He says his first piece of advice for incoming councillors is to ask questions.
”Don’t take what you’re given as fact,” he said. “Go and find out.”