With the municipal election coming up in October, Bonnyville Coun. Ray Prevost has announced that he will not be running for mayor.
After Mayor Ernie Isley declared that he would not be seeking re-election, many in Bonnyville believed Prevost might be a good fit to return to the mayor's seat.
Prevost said he has been approached by people in Bonnyville offering him support if he were to run for mayor again but he said he wants to set the record straight.
“I don't think it is the right thing for me to do right now. I am a little older; I'll be 69 in the fall. Four years is a long term,” said Prevost.
He mulled the decision over for a while before eventually deciding not to run for the position during his five-week vacation in Arizona a few months ago. He feels his announcement will “open the door” for others who may be interested in running for mayor.
“I feel that it is the right thing for me to do because I might be preventing someone who might be interested in running, who might not if they thought I was. I don't think it is fair that I just sit in the back until next September,” said Prevost.
Isley feels that Prevost is making the right decision not to run for mayor.
“What he shared with me was that he wanted to stay on council and see the Bonnylodge project finish; this phase and the next phase,” said Isley. “He didn't feel that he could do the mayor's job and that job. I would have to agree with him.”
Prevost, who has been a councilor for about 16 years, is still not completely certain he will run for council again.
“That's not a 100 per cent decided. I am leaning (towards running again) but I will decide that a little later on,” he said. “I made a commitment to the seniors and I feel I have to follow it through.”
Prevost has been a long-time seniors advocate in the community and has been working on a variety of projects over his time as a councilor, which is part of why he doesn't want to run for mayor.
“If you are a councilor that is making good sound decisions for your town and you're moving the committees and the programs that have been assigned to you by the mayor forward in a positive way and you do all of the crying and the squawking and you finally get the money…to walk away from that to become the mayor, I don't think it is the right thing to do.”
Isley praised Prevost for what he has done for the community as a councilor and still feels he has a lot to offer Bonnyville.
“I think any project that we have given Ray to do he has done an excellent job on,” said Isley. “The Bonnylodge is a more recent one but I think you could give Ray a lot of the credit for the improvements that occurred and the more effective operation that has gone on at the C2. There were some serious problems there about the time he stepped in as chair. Ray is a very knowledgeable, very effective and very committed person.”
Although it is unclear who will be running for mayor at this point, Prevost says he will support whoever gets elected. He just hopes that others follow his lead in announcing their decision sooner than later.
“I wish that councilors who are not planning to run would declare now to give people a chance,” said Prevost. “I think (my decision) will open up the door. There might be a few people on council that might be interested, but I think they are sitting back to see what (I am) doing.”