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FORT ST JOHN, B.C. – Mayor Lori Ackerman announced Tuesday afternoon that she will not be seeking re-election in the upcoming race this October.
Ackerman is finishing her third term as mayor. She has held the post for 10 years and eight months. Before that, she was a city council member for several years.
“It has been 17 years, and it is time,” she said.
She recognizes the important work that she and her fellow council members have done over the years in painting a direction for the city.
“Council has been really strong over the years about taking that planned and principled approach,” she said. “Making sure that we have a vision for the future and that we don’t distract from that vision.”
When she started on city council, Ackerman said, half of the roads in the city were gravel with open ditches. Resurfaced roads—with sidewalks and street lights— in many neighbourhoods across town were only some examples of that vision coming to life under her careful hand.
The new firehall and rejuvenated centennial park with its stately Festival Plaza (where discussed this new step), along with other renovated parks and the new RCMP building, are several others.
Working with local First Nations was also one of the elements of her time as mayor that she looked back on not only with pride but hope for the future for the next community member to take on her role.
“Having that understanding of just where the Indian Act has left our First Nations neighbours, and recognizing that, acknowledging that, and then starting to build that path to what reconciliation is.” she said, describing steps towards making additions to reserve lands within cities for Doig and Prophet River First Nations.
Appointed the first female mayor of Fort St. John in November, 2011, Ackerman had a long history of community leadership and volunteer work before taking office and continued that work in the city’s highest political post. She intends to pick up that important work in the future.
She described the beginning of her time as mayor as “a beautiful steep learning curve” and advises her successor that it is not an easy job.
Though she is content with stepping away from the role, she is proud of the work she could help do for the community.
“It has been such a fabulous opportunity to be a part of this,” Ackerman said.
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