After three years as mayor of Hay River, Brad Mapes won’t seek re-election in October.

“I am not going to put my name forward,” Mapes told The Hub on Sept. 8.

Brad Mapes: mayor has decided not to seek re-election.
NNSL file photo

As for why he has made that decision, he gives two reasons.

“Honestly, I think one of the biggest reasons is I want to spend time with my family,” he explained.

Another reason is he plans to focus more on his businesses, including a proposed wood pellet mill he has been working on for years to establish in Enterprise and which is nearing reality.

“That’s my goal in the coming months and years after I leave office,” he said.

In fact, Mapes believes that, as a businessperson, he can create a large positive impact on the local economy.

“I think that we accomplished a lot of stuff,” he said of his time as mayor. “I wish the economy could have been a bit better, but one of the reasons I want to leave office is because I can make a lot of the economy personally change.”

Mapes said he enjoyed his time in municipal politics, first as a town councillor for one term and as mayor for the past three years.

“The thing about it is, I love being the mayor of Hay River,” he said.

Mapes noted there was a lot to be done during his time as mayor.

“One of the reasons I did run for mayor was I felt that there were several big issues that were coming up in this term,” he said.

Those issues included things like the long-running effort to get a new power franchise agreement for the town and obtaining land for residential development.

Mapes said he hopes to get those issues close to completion before they are handed over to the next mayor and council.

“There are a few things that are left to be done as a council, and that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t declare my intentions sooner,” said Mapes. “Some of the people might look at it as I should have declared sooner. But the reason why I didn’t declare sooner is that sometimes what happens is, when a candidate declares that they’re not running, that candidate might get themselves lazy and not want to complete everything, or the people around him – whether it’s the administration or whether it’s the council members – they might just sit on things. But I’m not that kind of person.”

Instead, he said he committed to be mayor for three years and he’ll work right to the very end of his term.

“I’ve got about a month and a bit to get done, and I’m going to put a lot of stuff on the council and I’m hoping that the council feels the same way,” he said. “We need to work forward and get things going.”

Nominations for the upcoming municipal election are now open and will close on Sept. 17.

Looking back on his time as mayor, Mapes said he is very proud of council and what it has been able to accomplish in the last three years.

“It’s been very rewarding,” he said.

In particular, he pointed to some important hires for town administration, including senior administrative officer Judy Goucher and Glenn Smith, the assistant senior administrative officer and the acting director of recreation.

“Those two people definitely are key,” he said.

Plus, Mapes noted the town is now in a better financial situation.

“I was committed to being the mayor and I enjoyed it,” he said. “I tried to do as much as I could. I guess I could always do better. I wish the new mayor and council all the best going forward.”

Mapes admitted that a few councillors may have felt that he was tough to work with.

“I’m going to say that I reached out as much as I can, but I’m not going to hold somebody’s hand,” he said.

The outgoing mayor noted he and council were able to create better connections with the territorial and federal governments, which led to more funding for municipal projects such as water and sewer work.

Mapes also believes he brought a lot of new ideas to council.

Plus, he noted he sought to ensure that Aboriginal groups are playing a part in the community.

“I reached out as a mayor and tried to get them involved as much as I can, and I still will,” he said.

Mapes said being mayor has been stressful at times, mentioning rebuilding the Rec Centre, which he said is close to final completion, and the Arctic Winter Games earlier this year.

“It’s drained me personally trying to deal with some of the issues, trying to lobby and look for funds and stuff like that, but that’s what I am. I like that,” he said. “I kind of like the fact of living on the edge and working fast, and multitasking at times. To some people, it might sound like I’m confused, but at the end of the day I’m pretty organized when I put things in front of me that I want to get achieved.”

As he nears the end of his term as mayor, Mapes noted he still intends to be involved in the community and would be available to discuss ideas with the new mayor and council.

“At the end of the day, I definitely love my community,” he said, while thanking his wife and family, friends and business associates for allowing him the time to serve Hay River.

Despite his decision not to seek re-election, Mapes said he thinks it will be a sad day for him personally when he leaves the role of mayor.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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