Someone once said that in every “hello” there is a “goodbye” and how true that is. It was more than three years ago that I began the pleasant experience of meeting you in these pages each week, but it seems like only yesterday. And now here I am to say, to quote the title of the last episode of TV show, M*A*S*H, “Goodbye, farewell and amen” because, as I am sure you are aware, I have chosen to take a pause from politics.
I felt it appropriate to take this opportunity to thank each of you for allowing me the privilege of serving as your mayor for the last 12 of my 27 years in public service. I have enjoyed almost every single day and, even on those rare occasions when things didn’t go so well, each challenge was a reminder that life is a non-stop learning experience.
Being mayor has provided me with many memorable moments, including a lot of amusing ones. One day last fall, I was harvesting my Grand Parade vegetable garden which, as you probably know, I plant each year for the Parker Street Food Bank. As I was digging, I started chatting to two passing tourists and introduced myself. As they were leaving, I overheard one say to the other, “Goodness, the local economy must bereally bad when the mayor has to grow his own food!”
Getting out and making personal contact with residents has always beenthe best part of my job.Over the years, I have made a special effort to try and visit on a regular basis the near-200 communities in our municipality and everywhere I have gone, I have been welcomed with warm smiles and your legendary down-home hospitality. During my travels, I have been encouraged by the faith that so many individuals, organizations and businesses have in our municipality and their quiet confidence in its future, a confidence that I share.The late Robert Kennedy once said, “There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why…I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?” It is this kind of visioning and courage to tackle change that makes a community strong and I have seen these inspiring qualities take root in the HRM during my term of office.
As I step back, I am confident that a solid foundation has been laid and that tomorrow has great things in store for the HRM, not least being the federal shipbuilding contract; serious new interest in the offshore; and a thriving downtown Core anchored by the exciting Nova Centre and dynamic new uses for the Cogswell interchange lands.
It has been an honour and a privilege to have served you and I hope you will allow me this last opportunity to express my gratitude for your support and many kindnesses. I extend to you and your family my best wishes for the future. Thank you and God bless you all. Until we meet again…