'No more politics': Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps not seeking re-election next year
After two terms and what will be eight years in office, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will not be seeking re-election come 2022.
While speaking with CTV News on Tuesday, Helps said that she's proud of the work she's accomplished alongside staff and council, but she's ready to pass on the mantle.
"I've really enjoyed this role for the last – it will be eight years – and being at the council table for 11 years," she said.
"There's still lots of work to do in this next year and I'm going to stay focused on that with my council and staff."
Helps says she'd already made the decision not to run for a third term before the 2018 election.
"Eight years at this pace and velocity is a lot," she said.
Victoria's 52nd mayor was first elected in November 2014, before being re-elected in 2018. Since then, she says she's happy to have watched the city grow and become more diverse.
She adds that she's happy with the work that has been completed on Victoria's new protected bike lanes over the past near-decade.
"I think most people will associate our work over these past eight years with the bike lanes, and certainly that's been a transformational project that people, I think, are starting to see the benefits of now that the network is built out," she said.
"I get so many emails from parents with young kids saying, 'I can't believe how easy it is to take my kids to daycare from Vic West to James Bay without even having to get in a car,'" said Helps. "Those are the types of improvements that are necessary. They're difficult, but they're necessary getting ready for the future."
In the meantime, Helps says recent plans are now in "staff's hands" to see through, such as the city's new climate plan, 'Go Victoria' plan, and newcomer strategy that will be unveiled soon.
Looking forward, she says the new year will be focused on housing, climate change and "creating a city where everyone belongs and is set for the future."
While Helps says she has no interest in pursuing politics in the future, she says that if she were to act as mayor again, she'd re-examine the downtown core and Inner Harbour.
She says she'd like to see Douglas Street be more pedestrian friendly, in the way that Government Street has become a "pedestrian priority" strip, and she'd like to see parking lots around the Inner Harbour turned into something new.
"Ship Point in particular," she said. "I think we can do much better as a city than having parking lots in the Inner Harbour."
Helps says there's plenty of work to complete before her term is done, but added, "no more politics."
"There's a lot of big projects to pull across the finish line before the next election, so I'll focus on that," said Helps.
"This has been a good run. I think we've done some really good work, but I have no political aspirations beyond the 11 years I would have spent working in this building here," she said, pointing towards city hall.