THUNDER BAY – Iain Angus is looking to move behind the mayor’s desk after 15 years in city council chambers, though he insists he wants to spend only four years at the helm of the city.
Angus, who was first elected as an at-large councillor in 2003, on Friday announced his intention enter the mayoral race in this fall’s municipal election.
The 70-year-old made it clear that, if elected, it would be his last term at city hall.
“There are a lot of people in this community who feel it’s time for new blood. My feeling is that new blood has to have experience,” Angus said, pointing to the possibility there could be multiple new faces at the table if some of his fellow incumbents either step aside or join him in the mayoral contest.
“That will provide newcomers with a chance to get their feet wet, to understand how the city works, where they have influence, where they don’t have to position themselves so that in four years they’re much better positioned to run for mayor than they would be if they were coming from not being on council now.”
Angus, who repeatedly praised his ability to use common sense, said the next four years will be a critical time for Thunder Bay as it deals with both a stagnant economy and stagnant population.
The next mayor will have to address social issues such as homelessness and transitioning the city to a more diverse community with the growing Indigenous population, he added.
“We are at a crossroads in the community and I think for the next four years we need someone with extensive experience at all three levels of government who can work with a council, with the community, to move us forward,” Angus said.
“We have too many issues that are unresolved and we need to focus our attention on working through them.”
Angus acknowledged much of his work during his time as a councillor has focused on the region, as he has been involved with municipal advocacy groups as the vice president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and co-chair of the Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force.
“My efforts now will be focused primarily on the city of Thunder Bay and doing the work that’s necessary to work with council, work with administration and work with other leaders in the community to help grow the economy and to make this a better place to live,” Angus said.
Angus, who had the most votes for any at-large candidates in the 2014 election, has experience in both Queen’s Park and Ottawa, serving as an MPP in the 1970s before being voted into the House of Commons first in 1984 and then subsequently re-elected in 1988.
Incumbent mayor Keith Hobbs has publicly stated he does not intend to seek a third term.
Candidates for the municipal and school board elections on Oct. 22 have to wait until May 1 to formally register their nominations.