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After 20 years, Charlayne Thornton-Joe won't run again for Victoria council

Victoria city council will have a very different look in the next term.
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Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe has served on Victoria city council for 20 years. TIMES COLONIST

Victoria Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe announced Friday she will not seek re-election this fall.

Her decision means there will be at least four new faces on council when it first sits following the Oct. 15 election.

In a letter to Victoria residents, Thornton-Joe said she never expected to serve on council for 20 years.

“However, there was always so much work to be done [and still is] and so, with the ­encouragement of others, I ran again and was re-elected several times,” she said. “It has been my honour to serve the Victoria community throughout my time on council.”

Thornton-Joe said the reasons not to run, this time, outweighed any reason she might have to do it again.

“I am looking forward to focusing on other aspects of my life that have had to take a back seat in the last 20 years,” she said.

“These include my health, time with family, opportunities to do more and extensive travel, to focus on the new Chinese Canadian Museum Fan Tan Alley exhibit, to read the many books I have collected through the years, spend more time in my garden.”

Thornton-Joe was first elected in 2002 and has served on the boards of several ­community groups including the Victoria Women’s Transition House, the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, the Victoria Chinatown Lioness and the Lion’s Society for Children with Disabilities.

She joins Mayor Lisa Helps and Coun. Sharmarke Dubow in deciding not to return in the fall. Dubow announced his decision in the spring, while Helps had said before the 2018 election that she would not seek a third term as mayor of the city.

Long-term Coun. Marianne Alto and newcomer Coun. Stephen Andrew are both running for the mayor’s chair, meaning at least one of them won’t be at the council table any longer.

The changes may not end there.

Coun. Geoff Young said Friday he is leaning against the idea of running again, though he has not made a final decision.

“I may leave it open until I see who is running and perhaps get an idea of the probable direction of the next council,” he said.

“I am not finding my role on the current council very productive. I could not even persuade them to pass a motion some weeks ago expressing concern about the direction proposed for the [Royal B.C. Museum].”

Coun. Ben Isitt said he is still considering all options.

“I’m just talking to family members, talking to community members and am focused on my work at the council table, so no big announcements or ­decisions from me at this point,” he said, adding he would likely make a decision within the next month.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday and Coun. Sarah Potts could not be reached Friday.

aduffy@timescolonist.com