For the first time in more than a decade, the City of Armstrong will have a new municipal leader.
Four-term Mayor Chris Pieper announced to council at its regular meeting Monday he will not seek a fifth term.
“It’s time. It’s a part-time job but a 24-7 commitment,” Pieper told The Morning Star Tuesday, July 12.
“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do but I’m going to do things I want to do and I still plan to be part of the community.”
Pieper, who just turned 75, has spent seven decades in Armstrong.
He retired from the then Riverside Forest Products (now Tolko) in 2005 but his political career began in 1988 as a councillor when he captured a byelection. He was encouraged by then-councillor Jerry Oglow to run. Eric Hornby was the mayor.
“I was at a hockey game at the Hassen Arena and we were watching our sons (Chad and Ryan) play when Jerry convinced me to run,” laughed Pieper.
“Armstrong was looking to add a second water storage reservoir at North Silver Star lake, and I had just completed supervising the construction of the Procter Lake reservoir for Crown Nursery.”
He took three years off from council due to work commitments from 1999 to 2002, but successfully ran again in ‘02. He remained a councillor until he succeeded Oglow as mayor in 2008.
Pieper ran unopposed in the last three civic elections.
He spent nearly half his life in municipal politics, spending 17 years as a councillor and the last 14 as mayor.
Asked if there was one project that stood out during his time on council, Pieper said watching the Nor-Val Sports Centre become a reality.
“The arena was a big one, and one of the most visible capital projects we’ve done,” he said.
“There have been a lot of good things that have happened which you get when you have great support from staff and the other councillors.”
Pieper, however, won’t be seated at the table in the new municipal hall being built across the street from the current facility which is more than 100 years old.
“I’m going out with the old building,” chuckled Pie-per. “No gold watch or pension. Just thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the growth and planning of our great little city.”
Pieper is the second sitting member of council to announce their plans for the Oct. 15 municipal elections.
Coun. Jim Wright said in May in an open letter to his constituents that he won’t seek re-election.