CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Eddie Rice says it’s simply time for him to go.
The Charlottetown Ward 1 councillor is the only incumbent not re-offering in the municipal election on Nov. 5.
Rice said Monday there are two reasons why he chose to bow out of politics. His health is one.
Rice sustained a brain bleed after a fall last year that kept him sidelined from council for 10 months this year. When he did return to council, it was in a limited role.
Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy, vice-chairman of the Water and Sewer Utility committee, handled Rice’s duties as committee chairman.
Although he gave serious consideration to running, Rice also feels he’s accomplished everything he set out to do when he was first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
“I’m changing some lifestyle things, but I’m perfectly healthy (now),’’ Rice said.
“I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy of run, do what you have to do, what you’re interested in and leave. Don’t stay for 30 years. (Council) should keep changing.’’
- Coun. Eddie Rice
Eight years ago, as chair of water and sewer, Rice set as his goals a new water source for the city, optioning a third source, separating the water and sewer pipes to reduce the amount of effluent pouring into the Charlottetown Harbour and seeing that residents reduce the amount of water they use through programs such as water meters.
All of that has been accomplished.
Rice said residents have been a critical part of reducing water usage to levels the city hasn’t seen in 17 years.
“The (Water and Sewer Utility) staff have been absolutely wonderful. They have an unbelievable staff, great to work with,” said Rice. “I want to thank the people, including the residents, because the water and sewer has been a smashing success.’’
This was actually Rice’s second stint on city council. He was first elected to council in 1981, serving as the chair of the public works committee until 1989 when he took over as chair of the Charlottetown Water Commission. Rice served at the commission until 1995.
There’s certainly no shortage of interest in filling Rice’s seat. Alanna Jankov, Laurent Beaulieu, Leo Killorn, Paul Haddad and Ron Dowling have all declared their intention to seek the seat.
Rice said the time has come to bring some fresh perspective to Ward 1.
“There are people now with other interests, fresh (ideas) and that is good, but (council) needs people who will continue to respect what has been done.’’