Bancroft won’t seek re-election in South Stormont

South Stormont Mayor Jim Bancroft speaks with a constituent during the mayor's breakfast in Long Sault, Ont. Friday, April 13, 2018. Bancroft won't seek re-election in the October municipal election. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LONG SAULT – The mayor of South Stormont has decided to draw the curtain on his political career.

Jim Bancroft announced during the mayor’s breakfast at the South Stormont Community Hall Friday morning that he won’t seek re-election in October’s municipal election.

“I’m 73 years old and my wife and I want to spend a little bit of time together doing a little bit of travelling,” Bancroft said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

Bancroft says he struggled with making the decision for a long time. Even though he feels quite capable of holding office and believes he would be re-elected, holding the entire term would see him finish in office at 77 years old and “that’s too far down the road.”

He had a previous health scare in 2011. “I just don’t want to take that chance again,” he said.

Bancroft was first elected councillor in 1985 and then in 1995 was elected reeve of then-Osnabruck Township and served three years before being mayor of South Stormont from 2000-2006 after the 1998 amalgamation.

Before he leaves office, Bancroft would like to see the groundwork laid for a future sewage treatment plant in Ingleside. He also wants to see the park in Ingleside completed.

As for the biggest disappointment during his term, the investment of time and resources in fighting the school board on the closure of Rothwell-Osnabruck Secondary School.

“We invested six or seven months of our time into that project and to this day I still feel that the way they presented the information and numbers was poor. In the end result, we got a bad decision and as a result we have a building sitting there vacant that was refurbished in the last five or six years.”